Three fascinatingly kitsch Montreal hotel bars you must visit
Sure, most people have heard of the action at the W Hotel, gotten the 411 on Suite 701, or have ditched Koko to wobble down to XO, but what about some of the more seasoned, less-hip-with-the-kids hotel bars located on our fair island?
The Lotus Bleu Lounge at the Holiday Inn Select in Chinatown
Bartender: Not important—you come for the décor
Years spent behind the bar: Aren’t you listening? D-É-C-O-R.
Drink of choice: My Sing Sling tasted like a Shirley Temple; I’d stick with hard liquor or beer.
Décor: American mid-range hotel crossed with my aunt, who once asked her interior designer for “something a little Asian!”
Defining feature: Gigantic koi pond! However, the large pagoda across the way comes in a close second.
One of the only North American establishments to be blessed by the Noble House of China, the Holiday Inn Select in Montreal’s Chinatown must also be one of the only places in a 300 mile radius to house a huge, indoor koi pond beside their hotel bar. Walk the koi pond path, check out the brass dynasty reproductions, gaze at the etched-glass panda bear wall sconces, and transport yourself this cold winter to Hong Kong, circa 1985 (or parts of Boca Raton, as of right now).
99 Viger West | Place-d’Armes
Photo Cindy Boyce
L’Opéra bar at Loews Hôtel Vogue
Bartender(s): Alfredo and Francine
Years spent behind the bar: Over 21 each
Drink of choice: The Baccarat, a Loews Hôtel Vogue signature cocktail
Décor: Tasteful, intimate, with floor-to-ceiling windows that let just enough of the street in (but keep the riff-raff out)
Defining feature: Alfredo and Francine!
Host to business people and the odd celeb, L’Opéra Bar of the Hôtel Vogue has a lot going for it: a good selection of fi ne scotch-whiskeys, comfortable seating, and two polished, knowledgeable bartenders named Alfredo and Francine. When asked to fix a cocktail that would fi t me to a tee, Alfredo – who could double as an El Salvadorian Isaac Washington – gave me the once over, and proceeded to mix up a Francesca’s Negroni. After one sip, I knew he totally got me – strong, kinda sweet, and just a little bitter.
1425 De la Montagne | Peel
Photo Cindy Boyce
The Cabaret Piano bar at the Hotel de la Montagne
Years spent behind the bar: 30
Drink of choice: “Anything with vodka in it.”– Bernard Ragueneau, hotel owner
Décor: A little Art Nouveau, a little Rococo, with a few flat screens thrown in to remind you it’s 2012
Defining feature: A Steinway grand piano outfitted with elbow rests and a large slick surface on which to set your drink…or yourself, should you want to reenact that scene from The Fabulous Baker Boys.
I enjoy guzzling G&Ts poolside while gawking at Eurotrash in barely-there spandex as much as the rest of ‘em (God bless the DLM rooftop), but when the temperature goes down, there’s nothing better than being entertained by a mustachioed gent on the keys while sipping a well-made Manhattan. Thanks Hotel De La Montagne, for being there to service my seasonal needs.
1430 rue De la Montagne | Peel