The Arrow and Loon, my happy place...


It's not hard to find a place to drink beer.  You can't throw a beer cap without hitting a pub, sports bar or bistro that serves that frosty beverage we all adore.  So how does the above average beer drinker sort through all the competition when it comes to his beer guzzling palate?  It's got to be about the BEER.  So often we find nothing but the same old, same old nowadays.  The usual mix of mass market retail beers, maybe a monster import and in rare cases, a craft beer selection to round things out but only if it's brewed locally.  Ordinarily this would be fine.  Who doesn’t love the local Pub?  A place you can go to get your favorite import or the old faithful domestics you’ve been drinking for years.  I can say there isn't much that I like more than a frosty glass of Rickard's Red.  But the problem is it's always the same.  There's no variation, no surprise.  The beer merchants have a formula.  You buy what sells and sell what people want to buy.  No brainer.  In many cases the beers they buy are the safe and consistent choice.  I'm no commerce major but this seems like a good business plan.  Unfortunately for me, as my beer palate matures, it's just not good enough.  I want more.  I want to be surprised again.  I want to mix things up and step out of my comfort zone.  For most beer slingers that's just too much, you can't make money headed down that path.  People want what's familiar, what's safe.  They want consistency and predictability.  

But ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to settle for what is safe and predictable.  I have found a place where all my beer dreams have come true.  It’s my Beerhalla, my mecca for brewed barley, my happy place.  The Arrow & Loon Pub is a little piece of heaven, smack dab in the middle of Ottawa.  I can't say enough about this place.  The Arrow is my favorite place to grab a pint.  This humble establishment boasts both a restaurant and bar.  It also has both an indoor and outdoor patio, something you certainly don’t see every day.  Its unique architecture adds to its allure, but the real story of this place is the beer.  When you get up to the bar you'll have to find your way around a forest of beer taps.  The Arrow sports 29 Craft Beers on draught!!!  29!  It’s fantastic.  Whether it be Rail City's Dead Elephant or Nickelbrook’s Naughty Neighbor, to Spearhead's Hawaiian IPA and Muskoka's Summer Oddity, the beer you want is here.  The mastermind behind this Craft Beer Revolution is the manager.  He is the perfect blend of surly and courteous, and always happy to pour you a pint.  The manager is also a huge Craft Beer fan and always seems to have some new keg he’s dying to put out.  They rotate the beers on tap often so there is always something new to entice your beer taste buds.  They have 3 cask pumps they keep stocked with great Real Ale selections so the true beer connoisseur will never go wanting.  The staff is friendly, efficient and always tries to help you out with the mountain of beer choices.  The beer menu is often out of date, so checking the taps before you grab a seat is always a smart move.  The wait staff might not always be the most knowledgeable about the specifics of beer, but what they lack in expertise they make up for in enthusiasm and good humour.  The Arrow offers beer flights at reasonable prices so you don’t have to agonize over which delectable brew to try next.  I mean, why have one when you can sample three?  All and all this place is tops.  It's the number one destination for Craft Beer in Ottawa and it never disappoints.  I should also mention that there is indeed a kitchen at the Arrow and I'm told the food is quite good.  Myself I've only seen the menu once or twice, choosing to focus on that which is best in life over sustaining my body's pathetic need for nourishment.  If any of you take my advice and stop in at the Arrow and Loon, please take a look at the menu and let me know what you think.  As for me, I'll most likely be at the bar, trying to drink the place dry.