House of Targ 10 years on: from a jam space to a local staple

 House of Targ on Bank Street near Sunnyside celebrates 10 years of music, pinball and perogies this April.

Photo: Jeremy Borg

By Jeremy Borg


House of Targ, a bar, restaurant, arcade and concert venue on Bank and Sunnyside, right across from the Mayfair Theatre, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on April 17th. It is co-owned by partners Mark McHale, Paul Granger, Kevin Berger and Blake Jacobs.

According to co-founder Mark McHale, the celebrations will include exciting music acts and other things. The details of the anniversary celebrations will be posted on their website at closer to the date.

House of Targ gives any patron a unique experience, bringing back memories from childhood while producing an exhilarating and memorable night for an adult. The space combines flashing arcade and pinball machines, bringing back a classic arcade theme that has been lost in many other establishments. “It’s an experience that we all grew up with to kind of give to a new generation, you know, that arcade experience with live music,” said McHale.

And the name? “Targ was the very first video game that came into our possession. It was the first game played at the old space that kind of started it all. The series of local band shows that we started doing…were aptly called House of Targ shows. When we moved to our current location, we felt keeping House of Targ was important because it was a nod to its origins,” explained McHale.

In addition to music and arcade games, House of Targ serves up delicious perogies. When creating their concept, the founders of House of Targ wanted to diversify the experience patrons would get when coming in. “When we were thinking of building the place, we knew that we couldn’t survive if it was just an arcade or just a music venue. We’re like, we need to do a restaurant…Paul [Granger, another co-founder] is of Ukrainian descent. And we sat in my backyard coming up with ideas, and we thought that running with perogies, we could do something with that and here we are,” said McHale.

Targ came from small beginnings and has consolidated itself as a highlight of the local community. Starting out as a niche space, it became a place that many locals frequent. While it has become a public staple, it stayed true to its humble origins.

“It was a small little band studio that sort of started everything with one [pinball] machine. And it was a showcase of shows that we did once a month. And it just grew and grew and grew,” McHale said. “It was kind of like Ottawa’s best-kept secret. And then we had to go sort of public. So looking back that it’s 10 years now, it’s kind of surreal, that everything happened.”

According to McHale, one of House of Targ’s goals was to be a positive factor in their community. To this end, they host Pinball Women Ottawa, a group for women, non-binary, and gender-diverse individuals to play and learn about pinball. House of Targ hosted Pinball Women Ottawa for their April tournament on April 3rd.

“One of our goals was to be very community driven. And we didn’t want to just be a bar, or, you know, a nightclub or something like that, we wanted to be welcoming to all ages and families, and we wanted to be more a part of the community and just somewhere for families and everybody to go and have an experience,” said McHale. “We always wanted to have more of an impact with the community. So you know, doing charity stuff and donation. It was intentional right from the start. One of our goals was to kind of be accepted by the community.”

Looking forward House of Targ hopes to continue providing a unique and unforgettable experience. According to McHale, they hope to find a bigger location to make them more accessible and keep making and selling perogies. Their goal is to keep growing.


Jeremy Borg is a Carleton journalism student.

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