An Interview With Summer Baird of Ottawa’s Hintonburg Public House

Beautiful lighting is only one of the many things that make the HPH in Ottawa, Canada, so special
Beautiful lighting is only one of the many things that make the HPH in Ottawa, Canada, so special | Courtesy of the Hintonburg Public House
Photo of Henry Oliver
18 September 2020

Since its creation, the Hintonburg Public House (HPH) has been a renowned success with Ottawa’s customer base. This can partly be explained by the passion of owner Summer Baird. We catch up with her on craft beer, culture and the ever-changing local food scene.

What inspired the foundation of The Hintonburg Public House?

I was looking to open a new food-related business and found, living in Hintonburg, that there were a lot of fine-dining options, tavern and pubs where my young daughter and I or my friends would go but nowhere in between where we could get a quality product in a casual atmosphere and at an affordable price. So, I decided that a gastropub was just the thing the area needed. My background was in fine dining as a chef, so I took the concept of well-made food, quality drinks and professional service and applied it in a more casual, home-style, friendly way.

How would you describe your pub’s atmosphere?

The HPH has a warm and inviting atmosphere. Our artwork changes regularly, keeping the space unique while helping to support the local art scene. Our clientele is a fun mix of professionals and families from the neighborhood and beyond.

Do you have any particularly intriguing stories from the pub?

Nothing that I can disclose. What happens at the HPH, stays at the HPH, but we do have a resident who has started to share her stories. Check out #HPHSusan, and follow her adventures for the inside scoop.

What’s the drinking culture like in Ottawa?

I find the drinking culture in Ottawa has changed a lot over the past 10 years. There is now a huge demand for craft beer and all things local. Having so many craft breweries to choose from and local distilleries opening, it’s getting better and better. Not to mention the close proximity to Prince Edward County, which, in my opinion, produces some of the best wines in the country. Cocktails as well, in many locations, are made with a lot of thought and care using quality products. There still is a time and place for the basics, which I always appreciate, and I love that there are still taverns I can go to to get a 50.

Any guilty pleasures?

Bourbon cocktails in the evening and HPH Caesars in the morning after a fun night out.

Where would you advise culture lovers to visit in Ottawa?

I love to frequent local art galleries and check out what is happening in the food scene. Some favorites are PDA Projects and Town on Elgin, Ottawa Art Gallery for fun art events, Wall Space and Wellington Gastropub in the West End and the Moonroom for late-night cocktails and the most delicious buttery popcorn in town, maybe even ever.

What can we expect from The Hintonburg in the future?

We are always looking for fun new events to host in the space or within the community, so it’s safe to say anything can happen. Craft beer helps to create some crafty ideas, especially paired with the creatives that come into the pub.

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