I get to the comings and goings, a bit thank you to the Foolish Chicken for making NosyNeighbour’s birthday celebrations complete. He’s a frugal guy and says he has everything he needs. So finding a birthday present is a challenge. Especially when I’m not quite as frugal and still have a list of things I’d like to have, like a sewing machine, electric piano, a really good pair of walking shoes…. So I decided to make him something, and at a suggestion of a friend I googled what I could make with duck tape. For a $1, I bought a roll of black duck tape at the dollar store. Using about a third of it, I made a wallet for him. I don’t really expect him to use it. But it will be his back up or travel wallet. You know, the one in case you get robbed.

But I felt like he should have more for his birthday so I arranged to play a bit of a joke on him at the Foolish Chicken. He loves collecting beer glasses, especially when we’re in Bavaria. Typically he has to like the beer too. The Foolish Chicken is now serving a beer by the Ashton Brewing Company, a pub we often visit by bike in the summer. Our beer arrived in ABC glasses. As usual, the ribs were delicious, falling of the bone and melting in your mouth. I opted for the home cut fries, which were also really tasty, hot and crisp. As usual, I couldn’t finish my combo, so some chicken clucked home with me. The ABC beer was pretty tasty, so we had seconds and  when the waitress came over with NosyNeighbour’s second beer I whispered asking  if I could buy a glass, then went over to the bar to explain what I wanted to do. Even though they only had 10 glasses from ABC, they let NosyNeighbour keep one. He loves it. Thank you Foolish Chicken for treating us like friends!It’s NosyNeighbour’s favourite neighbourhood restaurant.

On our way to the Foolish Chicken we noticed that all the restaurants were hopping on a Friday night. Except for one, which had a sign on the window: Santorini’s is now officially closed. I feel bad for the Greek guy because he was so friendly and wanted to make a go of it. I’m not sure why it didn’t succeed because the couple of times I went there the food was tasty and reasonably priced. Oh well, we’ll see what happens next.

Venerable Hintonburg live-music hot spot Elmdale House changes hands

And then this morning I learned that the Elmdale House is changing hands. Read about in this article in the Ottawa Citizen (Note I’ve figured out a way to avoid paying and seeing the annoying pop up box demanding my money!):

OTTAWA — Hintonburg’s Elmdale House Tavern, one of Ottawa’s few live music venues, has been sold to the owners of the Whalesbone restaurants.

The Twitterverse was lively with chatter Friday night as rumours spread that the 77-year-old tavern had a new owner.

The current owners, Nathalie and Bruce Myles, who’ve owned the place for the Past five years, could not be reached, but tavern staff confirmed the sale.

Elmdale bartender Nico Mantha said the sale was made late last week. “That’s correct,” he said when asked if the tavern had been sold.

He said that as far as he knew the new owner plans to close the tavern in January for renovations, hopefully reopening about two months later.

Will it still have live music? Yes, but not every night, according to Mantha. Instead, the refurbished tavern will continue to provide live entertainment on Friday and Saturday, and possibly Thursday.

Whalesbone owner Joshua Bishop could not be reached Friday night. His company, The Whalesbone Oyster Catering & Co., started in 2001, catering, as its website says, to backyard parties, weddings, and the odd funeral — with oysters. It now operates the Whalesbone Oyster House on Bank Street in Centretown, and a wholesale outlet on Kent Street, supplying restaurants from Kingston to Montreal.

Whalesbone is taking over a tavern with a long history in Hintonburg, a working-class neighbourhood currently undergoing gentrification. The building itself dates to 1909, according to the Elmdale House website. The first owner, Earnest Laroche, operated a dry goods store on the ground floor while his family lived in the rooms above.

It became a tavern in 1934, with a one-story addition to the side added when the tavern opened, as well as a new facade that hides the original storefront.

Back then, as the website relates, “Women didn’t just wander into these sort of places alone. You had to be in the company of a man to get inside, and you sat in a separate part of the bar that was for ‘ladies & escorts only.’

“Why? … well, it probably made life a lot easier for the barkeep this way! It’s for this reason that many old-time taverns have two big rooms, each with its own separate entrance. While the sign above the door is long gone, the Elmdale’s two front entrances are a reminder of this past era,” the website says.

“Over the years the tavern has provided refreshment and shelter to a variety of neighbourhood characters and local celebrities, as well as the occasional prime minister or two …

“A neighbourhood institution, the Elmdale has been a home-away-from-home for generations of people from around the neighbourhood.

“While the tavern has had it’s slow times, things are on the upswing again; the neighbourhood is changing, and more people are interested in seeing live music again.”

Indeed, late Friday the Whalesbone tweeted “live music will continue … Not that we’ll be able to maintain (Nathalie’s) 300 shows a year … (but) there will be live music.”