Progressive politics and news site Ricochet reports this morning that an owner of Mont-Royal Avenue bar Les Torchés told a customer that the bar did not serve gay clients.
Ricochet reporter Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours writes that two men, named only as “Francis” and his friend, dropped into the tavern early in the morning of December 3 for a nightcap. There, the pair reportedly encountered one of the bar’s co-owners, Christian Morin, who asked if Francis was gay. Francis said yes, to which Morin allegedly replied “on ne sert pas les gays ici” (“We don’t serve gays here,” in French). Francis then asked if he could at least use the washroom, a request he says Morin denied before ordering the pair to leave.
According to Ricochet, Francis left to go find a washroom while his friend stayed to dispute the owner’s statements, who allegedly suggested that the friend and Morin “settle it outside”, before being hit by the bar’s bouncers on the way out.
The Ricochet article mentions that Francis’ friend apparently had “a history with Les Torchés” and that the pair had been drinking, but Brassard-Lecours makes no indication that the pair were denied service because they were drinking.
Morin issued an apologetic-sounding statement via Les Torchés’ Facebook page (see below for an English version).
Yesterday (before the Ricochet article was published), Les Torchés Facebook image was changed to a rainbow version of the bar’s logo, representing LGBTQ pride, and various bar staff or friends have also done the same, including Morin. What exactly that means is up for interpretation.
Since Ricochet published the story, there have been numerous angry comments on the bar’s Facebook posts — most condemning the bar.
However, another less-public discussion thread in a Facebook group for bar and restaurant staff had more mixed views, including people defending or excusing Morin’s alleged actions.
Morin responded to Eater’s request for comment with comments similar to the apology made on Les Torchés’ Facebook page.
“Recently, two guests came to visit us at Les Torchés bar to have a "last" drink just before closing. Unfortunately, one of them is no longer allowed at the restaurant due to inappropriate behavior in the past. My responsibility that evening was to ask him to leave. My responsibility was not to insult them, even if I too had several drinks already that evening. Things escalated and I hinted that these clients were not welcome because of their sexual orientation. I do not recognize myself in these remarks. Our institution has always had and always counts on employees of diverse sexual orientations. We are grateful to all our clientele, regardless of their origin or preferences. The language I used was inappropriate and I apologize for that.”