A vintage pinball wizard's long quest to open a bar in Montreal will ostensibly come to pass when North Star soft opens later today in the bygone Korova bar in the Plateau. The new bar, named for the defunct, Montreal-based North Star Coin Machine Company, is the brainchild of Adam Kiesler, Justin Evans, and Marie-Lyne Tarabulsy (late of La Sala Rossa). The former promises more intel on the project next week—stay tuned. We do know, crucially however, that bar snacks at North Star will be made by former Sparrow chef Jeremiah Bullied (think organic beef jerky, marinated vegetables, tea eggs, seasoned nuts).
Bars-cum-arcades face obstacles in Montreal, namely in the form of a 1970s-era bylaw that prohibits coin-op games and the sale of alcohol under the same roof (video lottery machines are another story in the province, of course). Plateau-Mont-Royal councillor Christine Gosselin told the CBC last May that such places were once havens for juvenile prostitution. Times have changed, but the bylaw is still on the books, and Gosselin's guesstimate for an amendment was a year and a half, to two years. And while Kielser's initial bids to meet with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, and city councillor Alex Norris to discuss North Star's case were unsuccessful, months later, it looks like his project is a go. Read more about the original North Star Coin Machine Company here.
Update, January 4, 2015— More juicy intel on North Star below, with a big h/t to Cult Mtl:
· Design: Korova's physical makeover was the result of a joint effort between Evans and Tarabulsy, who double as graphic designers, and Jacob Logel and Chris Swanzey (Badger Services, Atelier Assembly), who built North Star’s booths and tables.
· Pinball cred: Evans told Cult Mtl's Lorraine Carpenter that "You won’t be able to find pinball machines in better shape anywhere in the world, especially of this vintage." A game will set customers back $1.
· Drinks: The beverage program will run the gamut, from Labatt 50 tallboys to soigné cocktails.
· Don't call North Star a Barcade™: The portmanteau has been trademarked by the founders and owners of Barcade, Inc., who operate five classic video arcade bars in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Eater was swiftly informed of such after this article was originally published on December 31, 2015.
· The future: Now that the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough has granted North Star a permit to operate a bar with pinball machines, another prospective arcade-bar project hopes Montreal's Ville-Marie borough will do the same. "Si le changement a lieu pour le Plateau-Mont-Royal, ça créerait une sorte de jurisprudence qui pourrait servir de base pour les autres arrondissements," Arcade MTL's Dominic Bourret told Canoe.ca.
Status: North Star, 3908 Saint-Laurent, (514) 904-6444. Now open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Thursdays and Fridays 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Saturdays 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.