By Cedric Lizotte – Montreal, QC
How many restaurants in Montreal can claim to have celebrated 25 years of existence? Le Saloon Bistro Bar (in the Village) can…and that’s a serious testament to their perseverance and continuous hard work. “Le Saloon isn’t just an institution in the gay community, it’s an institution in regards to the city as a whole”, says Philip Demers, who’s been the owner for 17 of these years.
It’s true, owning a restaurant in Montreal is a cutthroat business. And the many changes that the Village, Montreal’s gay neighborhood, has experienced over the years has bent the will of many a restaurateur, like water erodes cliffs. But Le Saloon is still here.
How would tourists go about finding Le Saloon during summer? Sainte Catherine Street is a pedestrian-only street during the summer, and Le Saloon’s patio is, in fact, right in front of the restaurant, and in the street! With large sun umbrellas, pride flags floating overhead and stylish blue lights beaming out of the storefront sign; it’s impossible to miss!
“Our patio is always super busy. I think it has some kind of “South Beach” vibe, and during the beautiful days of summer, people should really come early if they want to have a chance to sit and enjoy. It’s a perfect place to sip on sangria and watch the world go by, or have a couple of appetizers with friends”, suggests Demers. Montrealers enter some sort of “patio frenzy” as soon as the sun starts to warm up the city. Better get there early!
The menu is focused on North American bistro fare: Cesar salad, nachos, a nice tartare menu, a long list of burgers, vegetarian options and homemade pizzas.
But being a 25-year-old institution doesn’t mean that one should rest on their laurels. To celebrate its 25th birthday, Le Saloon Bistro Bar has hired the restaurant designer, Blazys Gérard, to give the décor a little (well earned) facelift! The current décor is supercharged, eclectic, vibrant and intense, and they are excited to see what Gérard has in mind.
“Our success has always been linked to the fact that we’re always reinventing ourselves. We keep the conviviality and approachability… we keep the great food, friendly service and the inviting atmosphere, and we make it exciting for our patrons to come and see what we’ve done next”, explains Demers.
Stop in and see what Blazys Gérard will do for the next “reinvention”… it’s all yours to discover!