Former Clocktower Brew Pub building in the Glebe to retain distinctive exterior even as new Turkish eatery moves in

Southern Ontario restaurant Sultan Ahmet is taking over Clocktower Brew Pub's first location in the Glebe. (Photo by David Sali)

The Bank Street building that was once home to the Clocktower Brew Pub in the Glebe will keep its distinctive tower, even as a new restaurant takes over the space next month.

Turkish restaurant Sultan Ahmet will open its first Ottawa location in March, says one of its owners. 

Sultan Ahmet opened its first location in Mississauga at the end of 2022 and recently opened a smaller-scale bistro in Hamilton. Now the restaurant is expanding out of southern Ontario to Ottawa, with the intent to continue growing. 

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“We were told there’s a market, there’s an opportunity to go there and to go aggressively,” says Denesh Balar, one of the owners and founders of the restaurant.“We found out there’s a lack of Turkish food, a lack (of the) quality of food and experience that we have to offer. We wanted to take that opportunity.”

Sultan Ahmet’s menu features popular Turkish foods, says Balar, including doner and a variety of kebap options, as well as breakfast items and traditional desserts. 

“We prepare our baklava fresh in house in Mississauga and we’ll be shipping them out to Ottawa,” he says. “Grilled food is one of the staples of Turkish cuisine. Turkish breakfast is huge; it’s something everyone should experience.”

The restaurant is setting up shop at 575 Bank St., the original location of the Clocktower Brew Pub, which opened there in 1996. The brewery closed its doors at the end of 2023

The building itself became somewhat of an icon on Bank Street, with its copper roofs and a distinctive turret with a clock above the entrance. Balar says the plan is to keep the building’s most recognizable feature. 

“We’re looking to see if we can put an LED sign on the other sides, keeping the clock while also giving it a fresh look in the summer or maybe next year,” he says. “Our goal is to try to keep the old memories while still modernizing and creating a refreshed look for the new brand.”

Renovations are underway on the interior space, which featured an upper-level viewing area where guests could see the pub’s open-fermentation brewing vats through a window. 

For Sultan Ahmet, Balar says the upstairs level is being transformed into an 80-seat dining space, with an open kitchen concept downstairs, giving diners a view of the action. The basement will feature a 40-seat dining area, which Balar says will be ideal for private parties and events. 

“We have a unique menu where all the ingredients are sourced fresh from the highest-quality suppliers,” he says. “Everything is in its purest form and our chefs have tremendous experience from working in Turkey in restaurants and hotels.”

While the new eatery was due to open this month, barring any further delays, Balar says the restaurant will open its doors in March. 

Darrell Cox, executive director of the Glebe BIA, told OBJ last month that while the Glebe is known for its array of international cuisine, there are currently no other Turkish restaurants in the area. 

He added that the restaurant will be set up in a prime spot. 

“It’s a great location,” he said. “The Glebe is a destination. We have lots of people from around the city coming to the Glebe to do their shopping, to visit the great restaurants. Being right off the Queensway, (the building) gets that great visibility as people are coming in and out. Visibility is important for restaurants. I think that prominent location will suit them very well.”

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