|Senators Sports & Entertainment owner Eugene Melnyk (right) and Bert Inniss, the owners of Bert's Bar in Barbados, welcome the crowd to the grand opening of Bert's Ottawa at Scotiabank Place (Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).
The Sens Army has a cool new headquarters at Scotiabank Place.
Barbados cool, that is.
Say hello to Bert’s Ottawa, the newest hotspot at the arena. The island-themed bar and restaurant, which is modelled after the original Bert’s Bar in Barbados, held its official grand opening Thursday night prior to the Ottawa Senators’ home-opener against the New York Islanders.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and Bert Inniss, who own and operate Bert’s in Barbados, greeted an impressive guest list that included Evelyn Greaves, the High Commissioner of Barbados; Leroy McClean, Consulate-General of Barbados; Ottawa MP John Baird, the federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jim Watson, the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien.
“Welcome to Bert’s!” an enthusiastic Melnyk said to cheers from the packed house at Bert’s, later adding “I’m going to make this the greatest place to come and have fun. I just tasted one of the daiquiris and it’s like we just shipped it up from Barbados.”
The concept for Bert’s Ottawa was created by Gord McTavish, who also directed the redesign of the original Bert’s in Barbados in 2006. With a décor that includes brushed aluminum palm tress, a glowing “pool bar” and Bert’s famed banana daiquiris as part of the mix, the facility brings the taste of Bert’s Barbados to the nation’s capital.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Melnyk, who met Inniss shortly after moving to Barbados in 1991 and has since made it his favourite place to watch Senators games. “It’s an open-aired environment… it’s fantastic. It’s more than I ever thought it would be. It’s going to be a lot of fun for the people here.”
"I think it’s wonderful. It’s an open-aired environment… it’s fantastic. It’s more than I ever thought it would be. It’s going to be a lot of fun for the people here." - Eugene Melnyk
Senators Sports & Entertainment president Cyril Leeder called the opening of Bert’s Ottawa “from Eugene and Bert, a gift back to the Ottawa fans and our way of saying thank you for being the best fans in the National Hockey League.”
Two senior staff from Bert’s Barbados, Peter Greenidge and Carlisle Gibbons, were on hand for Bert’s Ottawa’s official opening night and liked what they saw.
“It’s phenomenal. They did a fantastic job here,” said Greenidge, who supervises the bar at Bert’s Barbados. “Our style is a lot different. In Barbados, we do a lot of blending. I realize it’s a lot of caesars and beers (being served here). In Barbados, you get a lot of daiquiris. But you’re catching on with the daiquiris. Your daiquiris are not bad.”
A big part of the character at Bert’s Barbados, Melnyk said, is the “paraphernalia” that Inniss has collected over the past 30 years that hangs on the bar’s walls.
“Over time, that’s what you’re going to see here,” said Melnyk. “That’s history.”