An old poster for Disco Bongo

An old poster for Disco Bingo

Humphrey’s on Bank St. may be in the midst of an identity crisis: family restaurant on the outside, cocktail lounge on the inside. By becoming the new venue of Spins and Needles popular Disco Bingo night, the Glebe eatery may be making a move to assert itself as the latter.

Granny gambling is enjoying a new cachet as part of the same movement that has seen knitting circles and ugly sweaters become trendy. S&N puts a twist on the original by adding 70s and 80s music and whimsical prizes: Kraft Dinner, packages of Ramen noodles, disco balls, strings of lollipop, a New Year’s Resolution file fax, etc. A lack of reverence for tradition was also evident in the shapes players had to form in order to get their paws on the loot, as crosses and diagonals replaced the standard horizontal and vertical lines.

The monthly event outgrew the Shanghai restaurant on Somerset and will be making Humphrey’s its perminent home. The cost is $5 for the first two cards, and $1 for each card afterwards. Definitely worth a visit next February 6 if you feel like shaking to the Eurithmics while taking a shot at winning a pack of shot glasses.

What to do ‘til Winterlude?

December 27, 2008

During the warmer months Ottawa is infested with fests: Jazz Fest, Blues Fest, Fringe Fest, Tulip Fest. The cold seems to kill off both the city’s mosquito population and its revelry, at least until the aptly named Winterlude roles around in February. As a consequence, us poor Ottawans are left to entertain ourselves for most of the winter season. In order to help you out, Apartment 613 will post a number of suggestions for do-it-yourself fun until Winterlude begins or we get bored and run out of ideas.

A cup of Joe at the Wild Oat.
A cup of Joe at the Wild Oat.
Idea 1: Coffee Crawl
Grab a friend or a magazine and spend a couple of hours getting legally high by downing four or five espressos in a row, each at a different location. Better yet, bring a pen and paper and report back on your favourite spot to Apartment 613. Elgin and the Market have an excellent assortment of Coffee shops and bakeries in close proximity to each other, but my favourite route is Francesco’s, the Wild Oat, Nicastro’s, Bridgehead and Morola’s, all within three blocks of each other in the Glebe. There’s also a Starbucks, Second Cup, French Baker, and Timothy’s in the area, making the neighbourhood one of the most caffeinated place in the National Capital Region.

The Best Two-Egger in Town

December 14, 2008

It’s the little black dress of breakfast: two eggs, toasts, potatoes. This cheep and easy standby is a favourite of students trying to forget last night and seniors trying to remember the last ten minutes. For those of you left jaded by decadence weekend brunches, try getting back to basics at these downtown(ish) hangouts.

  1. Mayflower – 247 Elgin Street – $3.35
    What the two egg breakfast is all about – the only way to get more bang for the buck is to lay the eggs yourself. Be sure to get a table in the back where the atmosphere is more English pub, less greasy spoon. Hippies beware: The Mayflower is a known conservative hangout.
  2. Bramasole – 428 Bank Street – $5.95
    Time warp back to the 1950s… or at rather to the 2008 hipster version of it. Although its not the best deal in city, the food is good and plentiful and the decor is the cat’s meow.
  3. Ada’s – 510 Bank Street $4.50
    Maybe its the sizzle from the kitchen, or the colourful checkered table clothes, or the waitress in her blue jeans and a T-shirt, but Ada’s is where you go to feel like an Ottawa insider. The meal is cheep and satisfying but, coffee refills are $0.50 a pop! Gasp!
  4. Wild Oat – 819 Bank Street $6.50
    The two-egger with a hippie twist: you pay a little extra for the virtue of Fair Trade Coffee and organic eggs. Go for the Spelt bread and the homemade jam. Conservatives beware: dreadlocked vegan types love spelt bread.

Any other favourites? Add a comment and let me know.