If you are looking for great music, food and drinks then look no further because there’s a new 9,000 square foot food hall and music venue in downtown Ottawa.
Queen St. Fare, Ottawa’s first food hall, opened in December 2018. It is located on Queen Street inside the Sun Financial Centre and is also right beside an LRT stop.
“[It] Should be great once the LRT is in place because the University of Ottawa is two stops that way and Carleton University, you can grab the LRT to the O-Train so it’s going to be great,” says Scott May, owner of Bar Robo, one of the restaurants on site.
The design of the food hall is ideal: dim lighting to set the mood, concrete floors, lots of seating arrangements that will seat all of your friends and also many wall outlets with USB plug-ins so you can charge all your devices.
Inside Queen St. Fare, depending on what you are feeling for that day you can choose between six local eateries ranging from Mexican dishes to Asian cuisine. The six food vendors available are Mercadito, Bar Robo, Fiazza, Green Rebel, Sen Kitchen and Capitol Burger Counter.
“Its a really cool atmosphere,” says Amanda Ford, manager at Capitol Burger Counter. “It’s like a giant community so if these guys don’t do well then we don’t do well so we all have to share everything. It goes very hand-in-hand.”
You can also enjoy alcoholic beverages from their Q Bar where they serve local craft beers on tap and a wide variety of great drinks. You don’t have to enjoy your drink directly at the bar too, you are free to walk anywhere within Queen St. Fare which is one of the many unique things about it.
“Not on the job, but I really like the bar,” says Ford. She also likes being able to walk around and get different types of food and the live music. “I’ve never been able to work in a place with live music quite like this. So that is really nice. I just really like the community.”
All the food vendors inside Queen St. Fare are local businesses and some have multiple locations throughout the city.
“It’s really gratifying to see people enjoy a cool vibe in an office building and not an awful chain type restaurant. The tenants in the building really enjoy having a really high-quality selection, you can come with a group and everybody can have their own style of food, you don’t have to all agree on sushi that day or pizza that night. Everybody can get what they want, it’s great and you can go get a drink or a coffee,” said May.
Food and drinks aren’t the only things that make Queen St. Fare a fun place to hang out after class with your friends. Their main focus is on being a live music venue that has multiple events going on every month.
Aside from the scheduled events, there is live music everyday being played from either an artist or a live DJ spinning on jams. If there are not live acts then music will be played throughout the day from the speakers.
With a capacity of 400 people for events, it makes Queen St. Fare one of the biggest nightclubs in Ottawa.
Scott May who already owns another Bar Robo on Somerset Street in Chinatown is one of the main people behind the music venue because of his experience with running shows, managing a stage and developing a great music program, which he’s been able to accomplish at Bar Robo in Chinatown.
For the live acts, they hope to feature plenty of local talent and have as many free shows as they can. Every Monday you can catch Pianoman Mondays with Jeff Rogers at 5 p.m. for some soulful tunes.
“My first time coming here was a few weeks ago but I’ve been coming back ever since with friends,” says Warren Evans, 24, a night class student at Algonquin College. “It’s dope to just go after class with some friends and chill to some music. Sometimes they have live DJs and other artists. I really enjoy SEN Kitchen and their general tso chicken and also the chicken noodle soup they have. It’s really good,”
Aside from the food, drinks and live music, the food hall is a great place to study as well. The music is not too loud for when it’s a regular day and the speedy WiFI and endless amount of wall outlets make it the perfect spot to get your study on.
Once a month they also have Hip Hop Karaoke for $5 that goes from 10 p.m. until late which is usually when it starts to slow down after 1 a.m.
Click below to hear the accompanying Glue Podcast piece.