Like the glass your cocktail was served in? Why not buy it and add it to your own kitchen? In Ward 14 treasure hunting with a cocktail is what it’s all about. Located on Preston Street across from Plant Bath, this enclave of vintage furniture, fish tanks, gum ball machines, and posters is also a bar. Patrons young and old all cram into the bustling diner style resto where everything – even your fork – is available for purchase.
Upon entering, you’ll find a large shelf packed with antique bottles, clocks, figurines and books. The bar’s core resembles a narrow hallway with a hidden back room where you might find items like a taxidermy bear head or a stuffed alligator on the table. Even though I was there recently, these items may or may not still be there, since the décor is always changing with new products being added – and sold weekly. Jammed packed with people and products, and with a capacity of only 30 or so, finding a table is sometimes a hunt too.
Favourites from their cocktails menu include It’s Complicated (bourbon, lemon, egg whites, syrup, red wine) and the Good Crazy (tequila, lime, orange, cilantro, jalapeno). Ward 14 also serves their house stubbies brewed by Nita Beer Company; they began with the Ward 14 Pale Ale but have expanded with a wheat beer and a sour pineapple flavour. These stubbies are popular — being priced at only $4.50. Although the menu is limited, the perfect pairing with your drink is the tater tot poutine.
The bar is owned by Devon Charlesford and Max Anisman. Devon says his idea was initially about taking his passion for vintage and elevating it to a more social level. “The idea of getting a cocktail while you shop for treasures appealed to us, but we didn’t realize how many people in Ottawa were looking for the same thing.”
Vintage décor is making a come back with wallpaper, figurines, brass hardware, neon fixtures, jungle print, macramé, and Polaroids. Devon mentions that “we sell a lot of vintage maps and old scientific equipment to people who dig that stuff, and we sell loads of porcelain cat figurines to obsessed cat people. There’s also a new wave of young vintage hunters who want anything 80’s/90’s. The one thing they all want is a conversation starter; we’ve got a lot of those.”
Devon and Max find these items from local sellers, shop owners, and auction houses, or by driving to the Ottawa Valley where an abundance of vintage treasures are available without the downtown competition.
Looking to buy one of those knick knacks? Be prepared to barter. The prices are all based on negotiations. “We like seeing people leave with something in their hands and a smile on their face, so as long as that happens it’s a win for us,” says Devon. Although the bar is full of interesting finds, be prepared to a pay a pretty penny. You pay a premium due to the bars unique atmosphere. A glass might cost only 25 cents in a flea market; here, it could set you back $6.
Ward 14’s popularity is also due to their Monday Night Trivia and Terrarium workshops with The Urban Botanist. Every Monday knowledge junkies gather for weird and wacky questions. Difficult as they may be, the funky prize packs are always worth it. You could win a turkey baster one week; a bar tab the next. The terrarium workshops give people interested in the world of succulents a fun environment to learn the art while enjoying a mimosa with friends.
Open Daily 5pm-2am
139 Preston Street