As a little kid, weekend mornings in my household were reserved for cartoons and sports. My Dad, an avid golfer, would settle into his arm chair, wrestle the remote away from us and switch the channel from Jem and The Holograms (I’m really dating myself) to whatever golf tournament was on.
Now, golf – a sport that I don’t quite understand that looks really hard to play – still sort of fascinates me. How a person can take a swing at a tiny ball, hurtling it into the air for hundreds of yards and manage a hole in one should be one of the wonders of the world. Many of my own girlfriends play and the thought of picking up the sport has crossed my mind more than once.
About six weeks ago, Mulligans Golf Bar opened up here in Ottawa at 201 Queen Street. Three friends, Chris Prendergast, Cam Ross and Andrew Grace, came up with the brilliant idea to open a cool place to hang out, have great drinks and a year later, their idea came to fruition. They managed to incorporate their love of food, drinks and golf to create a welcoming and fun space where you can also practice your swing. Perfect for a beginner like me!
I was invited to visit Mulligans, sample the interesting list of cocktails and food and swing the wrenches. Chris, a lively and very cool guy greeted me upon my arrival, hooked me up with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a bowl of the best popcorn I’d ever had. “But popcorn is hard to screw up!” you proclaim. This was much better than your average movie theatre fare as it was seasoned in their patented “Django Dust”, a wonderful mix of herbs and spices that perfectly melded sweet and savoury.
As I settled in to interview Chris, I took in Mulligans interior, a beautiful and cozy men’s decor dream. With its homey, masculine and comfy feel, it’s very conducive to relaxing for hours with friends. All original exposed brick walls are complemented by luxurious, tufted leather couches, arm chairs and banquettes upholstered in tartan fabric. The walls were adorned with vintage, golf-related, black and white pictures, and I stared at him in shock when he admitted that they researched design ideas on Pinterest to decorate their space.
A digital marketer by trade, Chris has been golfing since he was 13 years old and last year, he and his two friends Cam Ross and Andrew Grace decided to take the plunge and open their dream space. Armed with the knowledge that Ottawa has the most golf holes per capita in North America (other than Myrtle Beach) but with winter eating up half the year, and nighttime or rain impeding play for half the summer, they felt they could create something really special and fill a gap in our fair city.
Andrew managed to bring in Jayce Edwards, a talented chef with past experience from Ottawa favourite, The Albion Rooms. Jayce designed the menu carefully, putting his own “foodie twist” on old favourites such as pogos made with chorizo sausage, poutine topped off with cheese curds and rosemary veal gravy and my fave, a chicken and waffles dish that I’m pretty sure was sent from heaven above.
I was really impressed as Chris told me that all food is prepared in house by Chef Edwards and his team. No frozen anything here. As noted before, the chicken and waffles was incredible. Vanilla sage waffles were light, fluffy and golden and topped off with crispy yet juicy Northern fried chicken breast. Everything was drizzled in a honey maple chipotle mustard that was a spicy taste explosion. My husband devoured his steak frites, which I tried to steal as the steak was cooked perfectly – a buttery delight with a side of seriously delicious jalapeño brined fries.
Their cocktail menu is stellar too. It’s here where I had the best Caesar I have ever had…and I know a good Caesar. Their Tiberius Caesar is composed of a Thai chili basil infused vodka that is created in-house along with their very own clamato blend, and mixed with Bordeaux. To top off this masterpiece, the glass is rimmed with burnt honey maple bacon and a piece of crispy prosciutto and olives decorate this perfect drink.
Now, back to the golf. Mulligans offers three state of the art golf simulators (and one race track simulator located on the top floor). The simulators use geomapping which offers a completely realistic golfing experience including playing on the world’s most notable courses. Being in the business core, it’s the perfect driving range for avid golfers that work downtown.
For $50/hr (price includes groups), you can practice your swing against your choice of backdrops too. Mulligans also offers Nike’s top of the line Vapor clubs. Needless to say, even the top of the line golf clubs could not help my terrible golf skills. Thankfully, Mulligans is working with golf pros to offer lessons to the golf-challenged like myself, along with installing high speed cameras to capture your swing which would be uploaded online for later analysis.
In addition to all these goodies, Mulligans offers catering and also has a comfortable space for scotch tasting on the top floor.
I was so impressed with my visit and I’m already looking forward to my next Tiberius Caesar experience. Maybe Justin Bieber will be there again. ;o)