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The Elmdale House Tavern

The Elmdale is one of the few remaining old-style taverns in Ottawa. It has recently been revitalized and refurbished. It now features live music on most weekend evenings and is a terrific, unpretentious neighbourhood watering hole.

Once upon a time, such taverns were segregated into a men's side, and "Ladies and Escorts" which was reserved for women and women accompanied by men. As late as the late 1970s and even the earl;y '80s, women did not enter or sit in the "men's" side. Originally, women would only have entered the tavern with an escort, never unaccompanied.

I can still remember walking through the "men's" side of the Hotel Lafayette with friends sometime in about 1983, looking for another friend. The reception was decidedly hostile.

My former father-in-law recalled that in the 1970s, a group of women staging a "walk in" to the Bank Hotel in Hull, Quebec which was a men's only tavern. They were unceremoniously physically carried to the doors and ejected.

Now, the hotels are mixed, but one can often see the old "Ladies and Escorts" signs above the doors in the few taverns left.

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