Midway Tavern and Pandore: two newcomers in the Quartier
November 28, 2014
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Since summer, two new establishments have made the Quartier des spectacles their home. With its superb terrace and plush ambiance, Pandore restaurant-bar tops the 2-22 building, while Midway Tavern has restored to its former glory a Saint-Laurent Boulevard institution in need of a breath of fresh air. An encounter with two enthusiastic believers in the potential of the Quartier des spectacles: Pandore’s Ian Bourassa and Midway Tavern’s Charles Landry.
Ian, what were you aiming to accomplish by opening Pandore in the Quartier des spectacles?
There’s no lack of restaurants and bars in Montreal. But with Pandore, I wanted not just to create a new institution but to offer something different in the Quartier des spectacles. Working with designer Marc Paradis, we chose a timeless design that’s nothing like what you see everywhere these days. In our way, we wanted to recapture the essence of the cabarets of the 1930s and ’40s. People are as likely to come to Pandore for a gourmet dinner as they are to enjoy good cocktails or dance to our DJs house beats at the end of the evening. There’s also the cabaret side, which we’re still working on. In short, we wanted people to have a unique, upscale experience at Pandore.
Would you say that Pandore remains one of the Quartier des spectales’ best kept secrets?
Yes, because we wanted to get off to a solid start. We haven’t done any advertising because we want to keep an aura of mystery about the place, hence the reference to Pandora. We want people to say “Wow!” when they step out of the elevator on the fifth floor and discover Pandora. Among other things, we’ve reinvented bottle service by serving house-made juices, cucumber and lime with bottles of spirits sold to tables. We also have a team of mixologists who have created unique cocktails that can even be ordered in punch bowl format for sharing with friends. You won’t find that anywhere else!
2 Sainte-Catherine Street, 5th Floor
Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Charles, tell us a little about the history of Midway Tavern.
Opened in 1927, Midway Tavern is one of the city’s oldest taverns. In recent years, though, you could say it had seen better days. My two partners, Jean-Philippe Bouchard and Alexandre Théberge, and I bought it and gave it a complete makeover. At the same time, we wanted to keep the old tavern’s spirit, cachet, history and heritage. So you’ll find old photographs from Montreal’s golden age on the walls. And we went with warm materials like brick and wood. We also have little nods to the past: jars of pickles and pickled hard-cooked eggs sit on the bar. We even serve Labatt 50!
Why did you choose an establishment located in the Quartier des spectacles for a face lift?
We wanted to be players in the revitalization that’s happening in the Quartier as well as on the Main south of Sainte-Catherine Street. We believe in the development of this part of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and in its return to greatness.
Who comes to the Midway Tavern bar and what do you have for them to drink?
Our customers are mostly young professionals in the 25 to 35 bracket who work or live in the area. People also come to enjoy a drink before or after a show and, of course, to watch hockey games. Besides Labatt 50, we serve lots of Quebec products and specialize in classic cocktails like martinis, negronis, old-fashioneds and manhattans.
1219 Saint-Laurent Boulevard