Sir John A Pub - Peter & Bob Abraham

Sir John A Pub - Peter & Bob Abraham

Sir John A Pub


284 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1M3; (613) 567-2746

Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio


Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started.

We’re a family business operating as “Sir John A” since 2008.  We grew up in the industry beginning in 1983, and then came to our current location on Elgin in 1990. After operating a successful bistro, cafe and restaurant, we decided we wanted to open a neighbourhood Canadian pub.

What is it like being in business with your brother?

Being in business together as brothers, we’ve really developed a great working relationship, and have come to love serving the community, people on business, tourists and many others.

Did you always know you’d have your own business one day?

We were inspired at an early age by our father who was also in the restaurant industry.  He owned and ran one of Ottawa’s earliest restaurants - The Gondola (an institution for many Ottawa patrons).

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself since opening the pub?

We’ve been pleasantly surprised and delighted with the many amazing relationships and bonds, that we’ve formed and developed, over many years with our customers. Some of whom return year after year even when living in other cities.  As well, we have amazing relationships with our staff who have also been with us for many years.  It is unusual in this industry to form so many close relationships over such a long period of time, and the commitment and dedication we have to one another has made it like a second family.


Why the name Sir John A?

We came up with the name for the pub after brainstorming with some friends in the library.  We wanted a name that reflected a Canadian aspect of the restaurant, especially since we are located in the nation's capital.

Elgin street is its own unique community of businesses in Ottawa. Why did you choose this location to open?

We chose Elgin because we initially saw the potential of the street and the neighbourhood.  We liked the vibe and energy of Centretown, and the unique and eclectic collection of businesses (many of which are family owned an operated). It appealed to us, and it made it fun to be in business and spend time there. 

Tell us a bit about the #IDIGELGIN campaign. Why is it important for you to be a part of it?

“I Dig Elgin” is great for exposure and to get the message out to people that we’re still operating at full capacity and ready to offer a great experience for everyone.


What’s your favourite thing on your menu?

Among our favourite menu items are (for Peter) the “Sir John A” Burger (a juicy bacon-cheeseburger with side), and Bob’s favourite the Chicken Pot Pie. Both great Canadian meals that are really delicious and satisfying! As well, the selection of beer we have on tap provides a great compliment to the food. We offer 54 types of beer on tap (one of the most in the area). And we love to support our local breweries. We reserve 4 of the taps to showcase and feature some different varieties each month, giving our customers a chance to experience a new taste if they choose.


When you’re not running your business, what’s your favourite thing to do in Ottawa?

When we’re not working, we really enjoy fitness. The Elgin neighbourhood is also great for providing unique ways to experience it.  I (Bob) enjoy walking along the canal and skating in the winter.  I (Peter) enjoy going to the gym, jogging by the canal and walking around the neighbourhood and parks.

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