Beer, wine and spirits: Lost Penny Pub

Lost Penny Pub
Photo credit: Brian Preston.
Posted on: July 18, 2019

Penny, Canadian — Passed away peacefully on Feb. 4, 2013, when the Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing the copper-coloured coin (which was actually zinc coated). From May 2006 to October 2008, all circulation Canadian pennies from 1942 to 1996 had a melt value of over $0.02 CAD based on the increasing spot price of copper in the commodity markets and the Royal Canadian Mint  ceased the distribution of them on February 4, 2013. However, like all discontinued currency in the Canadian monetary system, the coin remains legal tender.

The first Canadian cent was minted in 1858 and was larger than our current day quarter! The penny remains legal tender with the most famous penny being the 1936 dot cent. There were four minted specimens of this coin, produced with the dot to show they were made in 1937 while the mint was waiting for new dies due to a delay caused by the abdication of King Edward VIII and the need to create new dies for his successor George VI. Three known examples are in private collections, and the fourth is not in the Ottawa Currency Museum, one of the few gaps in the museum’s collection. Who knows, maybe that one is in the counter resin of the new Lost Penny Pub in Westport!

I dropped in to see the co-owners, Frank Kotsovolos and Steve Biscaro. Not to be distracted by all the pennies, we sat at a table and they told me how the pub came to be. It opened in April this year and has been doing well since then. It is located at 9 Church Street in Westport (613-273-9900)

They own Tangled Garden restaurant next door which has been going for several years and in the last few years they noticed that clientele were looking for places that had TV sets with sports and were opened with later hours. This idea was particularly strong during the World Cup and more recently the Raptors helped them with a smooth opening and lots of new clientele. This also puts a pub on Church Street, one of the two main streets where all the action is. They did not want to copy other locations so they do not actually operate as a brewery, and they focus on a range of beers including three by local Perth Brewery and a large number of Ontario craft breweries. They did look into creating a brewery but found that it was a lot more complicated for their space and business plan. Their food selection also aims to be a bit different from others to complement the experience of visitors and locals alike. Check out their menu on line and you will see a range of appetizers, pub grub, and nachos, ranging from $8 to $21. They are no slouches on making Cocktails too, such as their take on the Moscow Mule called Westport Mule, Gameday Caesar, Westport Springs Sangria. Then there is Hidden Gem, a term heard to describe Westport and its location nestled below the mountain on Upper Rideau Lake. And there is Foley Mountain Avalanche with prices from $7.25 to $10.25. Oh, and did I mention the wines? It is refreshing to see that they have selected popular local and foreign wines and priced them reasonably by the glass (6oz) or bottle. Note the 6oz glass pour which is not as common as the 5oz pour these days! Price per glass from $6 to $9; for bottles it ranges from $23 to $150 for the Veuve Cliquot Brut for that special occasion. They have a good list that includes a House white and red wine by Wayne Gretzky Estate; in White wine a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, in Red wine a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Shiraz/Cabernet and an Italian Valpolicella. They also have a Sandbanks Rose and an Italian Prosecco as well as the French Champagne I mentioned earlier.

Plans for the future include opening a patio to take advantage of the seasonal summer weather and visitors to the area. If you are out and about in this part of Rideau Lakes Township, be sure to drop in for a good meal and libations. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and wherever you sit you are front and centre to the TV entertainment!

Column by Brian Preston