Trends come and go repeatedly.
We certainly see this in the fashion industry – how many times has one of your parents expressed they once had that very dress/shirt/pants when they were younger? Moreover, how many times have you looked at an old photo and wished your mom had kept that cool pair of platform sandals?
A city’s social scene is no different. The ongoing fad in Montreal cocktail lounges, which seems to be sticking around, is the speakeasy vibe. Speakeasies were popular during the prohibition era when alcohol was illegal. The name originated as you were meant to speak “quietly” about such establishments so as not to draw attention to them; a hidden or secret location was almost always involved.
Nowadays, businesses can’t be fully off the radar thanks to social media, but there are definitely some Montreal speakeasy bars that are really doing the style justice.
You can walk by this cocktail lounge without ever knowing it’s there. The facade is a menswear boutique with a tailor and barber shop, but this section closes in the evening leaving a separate doorway to the back bar. When you walk in from off the street, you find yourself in a well-decorated entrance space. If a doorman isn’t already present, he will show up very quickly. He then takes you through another door and down a dark hallway which leads to the bar. The space is small with only 25 seats, and although it’s dark, the decor is superb. There is no cocktail menu; you simply tell the bartender what you like, whether it is a specific liquor or cocktail, and he will concoct you something wonderful.
Atwater Cocktail Club
First, I must admit, I have not actually been here (yet), but I hear it’s pretty cool. The entrance of the bar is through the back alley with the front of the house being a French diner. Furnished with dim lighting, antique furniture, and a large pink vinyl booth, the interior of this cocktail club really has that old-school speakeasy vibe. With an elaborate and fresh cocktail menu giving way to the tastiest looking drinks on Instagram, I will definitely be visiting sooner than later.
Bord’Elle Boutique Bar and Eatery
This spot is definitely one of the newer kids on the block, as they just had their Grand Opening this weekend. There are three separate areas with each having their own theme: the grand foyer, the whiskey parlour, and the one that excites me most, the champagne room. The photos of Bord’Elle do not disappoint. Influenced by the roaring 20’s, the decor of this place is beautiful, adorned with rich jewel tones and gold trim, marble accents and what looks like velvet furniture. There is no menu information yet, but if the interior (food and cocktails) match the exterior (decor and furnishings), this will surely become the hot spot in the MTL scene.