Dim lights, bursts of laughter, background music and beer on tap: for regulars, the reopening of bars in Quebec on Monday is a breath of fresh air.
“It’s really nice to be able to see friends from the community again,” rejoices Frédéric Tremblay, at the entrance to the Quai des Mume, which has been established in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal for decades.
The place buzzes, a joyful atmosphere that echoes paintings displayed on the walls. Indeed, the famous establishment celebrates its reopening with the opening of one of its regulars, the visual artist Jean-Christian Guindon. “It is super important that the bars open, believes the artist. It is as important as elsewhere. It should have been done before! »
Remember that bars in Quebec can since Monday welcome their customers at 50% of their capacity, after ten weeks of closure due to COVID-19. As of March 14, they will be able to resume their activities at full capacity.
“It’s going very well,” confirms Julia Blais, director of show programming at the Quai des Fogs. “We were a little worried that people wouldn’t be there, but in the end, the 5 to 7 is going really well and, tonight, it’s going to be full! “, she adds, smiling. The bar, known for its emerging music scene, resumes its shows nightly with a performance by Ol’ Savannah and Lucy Lambert’s Violet Drift.
Find the regulars
When passing from The Press Monday evening, however, several bars were still closed in Montreal. Others now had a restaurant permit, which had given them the possibility of opening for a few weeks already.
“I was very excited,” says Jean-François Domingue, co-owner of Boudoir, a café-bar on avenue du Mont-Royal. The establishment was not eligible for government grants due to high sales last summer, says Domingue. “It’s big debts,” he says. We had to reopen ASAP! »
It is estimated that 12% of bars in Quebec have closed their doors for two years, according to the Corporation of Bar, Brewery and Tavern Owners of Quebec.
At the Boudoir, the regulars knew each other and were eager to meet again. Seated at the bar counter, they exchanged in a hubbub where conversations were going well. “It feels good to be here,” says Simon Dumoulin, glass in hand.
“It’s like an unwritten rule,” says Alex-Sandrine Lavallée Masse, a loyal customer for nine years, smoking at the entrance. “When it reopens, we come to say hello to encourage the people we love. »
At the back of the establishment, a group of friends had gathered to play billiards. “Bars are a community,” enthuses Dean Dalaroy. It’s a gathering, it makes the social life of a neighborhood grow! »
“We hope they will come to see us”
On this freezing Monday evening, the idea of a reunion did not, however, draw all Montrealers from the comfort of their homes.
At the Bar Bifteck, on boulevard Saint-Laurent, a handful of customers were chatting with the tenants. As elsewhere, the complete closure of bars was a “slap” for the establishment. “We weren’t ready,” summarizes Jason Robillard, manager of Le Bifteck.
The date of February 28 was therefore eagerly awaited for the establishment, which has existed since the 1990s. “We have a fairly devoted clientele, explains Jason Robillard. So, we hope that people who were bored will come back. »