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New Ottawa pub hopes to make memories with patrons

Court Street Pub hosting grand opening celebration Saturday

Court Street Pub owners Mike, Olivia, Jessica and Chad Lucas renovated the former Senate Billiards in downtown Ottawa with the goal of hosting many special events at the bar and restaurant.
Court Street Pub owners Mike, Olivia, Jessica and Chad Lucas renovated the former Senate Billiards in downtown Ottawa with the goal of hosting many special events at the bar and restaurant.

Mike Lucas said he’s been seeing a lot of heads poking in and questions being asked of his business venture at 620 Court Street in Ottawa.

In the future, he’s hoping the question most ask is, “I wonder what Court Street Pub is doing tonight?”

That answer will always be on one of the chalkboards at the new bar, which had a soft opening Wednesday and will have a grand opening celebration starting at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Lucas said customers have a number of similar events to look forward to.

“One thing we love is any sort of special event. We’re all about it,” Lucas said of the owners’ main vision. “We want to be the place that is home of the Sunday Funday and we can do that with our setup. We want to be the place that has dueling pianos on weekends. We want to be the place that does trivia and brings back karaoke night.”

“We want people to come out not just for any night but an exciting night,” he added.

Workers quickly paced through the building as the cleaned and put the final touches on the renovated former Senate Billard location, which closed six months ago.

Lucas said the relatively quick-turnaround despite a nearly complete interior renovation was due to the hard-working staff and great contractors.

The entrance opens up to a long bar with a metal Court Street Pub logo resting above a 20-beer tap.

The planned atmosphere for the restaurant was “a little taste of the suburbs but also a neighborhood feel” that expands to their beer selection that mixes local favorites and different selections they’ve tried elsewhere.

“We’re more than a shot and a beer type of bar,” Lucas said. “We’ve selected every one of our beers, of the 20 on tap, very intentionally and we’re trying to offer what no one else offers.”

Lucas said local favorites such as Tangled Roots and Radium City will likely make appearances, but they will also offer a variety of different lagers, stouts, ciders, Moscow mules and other unique selections such as Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.

The food selection leans heavily towards burgers and sandwiches, of which Lucas believes The Philly will be popular which consists of thinly sliced ribeye with grilled onion, green pepper, pepper jack cheese and garlic aioli.

Behind the scenes, restaurant administration is made of four key ingredients.

Lucas operates the bar with his wife Olivia, his brother Chad and Chad’s wife Jessica.

The group runs different portions of the operations with Lucas saying each brings their own unique skills and ideas to the table.

Lucas said there’s a small amount of nervousness that he said likely comes with any new business, but he adds especially one coming to Ottawa where expectations are high.

He said the owners think highly of the restaurants and businesses the populate the downtown and look forward to contributing to the downtown in their own unique way.

"That's where the nerves set in a little as you want everyone to have a phenomenal experience," Lucas said. "We don't want this to just be another bar or pub. We want to be something special for a place where people can make memories."

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The Times is routinely seeking out unique business stories that also keep readers aware of business openings, closures and relocations. Much of our reporting relies on what we see and hear, but we're also reaching out to readers for interesting business stories. If you have an idea for a story or business item, email Brent Bader at or call 815-431-4045.

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