There’s a new place that combines modern, local fare with outdoor games such as bocce. Located at Bank and Walkley, Playback offers a backyard party ambience year-round with a variety of games available on a pick-up basis (no need to reserve unless you don’t want to play with others).
A solid food lineup — charcuterie, cauliflower wings, Beyond Meat tacos — keeps players and spectators happy, and extends the city’s short BBQ season. We talk with Rory Underhill of Playback about the winning combination.
Why did you open Playback?
Following the success of our sister company, Archery Games, we were finding that people were coming to our facility, enjoying all the activities, and then leaving to get a meal or drinks while they talked about their experience. We wanted to create a similar fun environment in-house — a place where our customers can relax after their game without having to drive around looking for a place to go.
We wanted to recreate the fun atmosphere of a backyard party, that could be enjoyed through the long Ottawa winters!
What games are offered?
At the moment, we have two bocce lanes and two full-size shuffleboard courts. Our shuffleboard isn’t your basic bar table-top game — it’s a 52-foot long lane that you play by standing on it and pushing disks from one end into a scoring zone at the other. We also added a simple game called tiki toss. Players swing metal rings onto hooks to get points. It sounds simple, but we guarantee that after a few tries it will have you hooked!
Do the games change?
Those three games are likely to be permanent fixtures at Playback, but we’re always looking to bring in the next fun thing that our customers will love. We have some plans in the pipeline, but those have to remain a secret for now.
What kind of food and drink can people expect to get when they visit Playback?
Just like everything else here, we’re all about making the dining experience a fun and social activity. A lot of our food is designed to be shared, with dishes like crispy chicken wings, a duck confit poutine, and our popular charcuterie board. For those that want their own meal to themselves, we have a fully loaded burger, personal pizzas that are made fresh in-house, and a tall layered salad that comes in a Mason jar. For the vegetarians, they can enjoy all the same things, with breaded cauliflower wings and tacos made with Beyond Meat.
We do like to change up our offerings and ingredients based on the season, so you might see some more winter-inspired items appearing on the menu as we get closer to the Christmas period. That being said, we’ve had great feedback on the food, so the staple favourites will be remaining on there for the time being.
And, in my opinion, we have some of the best cocktails in the city, and we have over 25 draughts, bottles, and cans to choose from.