Inspecteur Épingle, a celebrated show bar and Plateau-Mont-Royal fixture for more than three decades, will serve its last beer on March 12. "It's going to be a big night, an emotional night," a downcast Mathieu Boudrias, owner, remarked today. "Our regular customers are like family."
Named after a character from a novel by Plume Latraverse, Inspecteur Épingle has been in the Boudrias family since 1987. The bar business is in Boudrias' blood, in fact. Grandfather Mozart opened the now iconic Les Verres Stérilisés tavern in 1945, a block north of Inspecteur Épingle. In a scenario reminiscent of other, recent Plateau shutters, Boudrias confirmed that a drop in new customers and onerous fines from noise complaints prompted the decision to close.
"I took many, expensive steps to soundproof the premises and install new doors, new curtains, you name it. But it seems that when someone calls the police to complain about noise from your bar, you incur an automatic fine. And the fines rise over time." Boudrias, also a principal in Centre-Sud's Grenade, hinted that Airbnb renters, so prevalent in Plateau-Mont-Royal of late, were a particular thorn in Inspecteur Épingle's side. "I'm here for 25 years but someone here for two days can complain and shut us down."
Fines became so burdensome a year ago that Boudrias had to halt certain shows altogether. "Plateau-Mont-Royal's rules on 'noise disturbances' have considerably evolved. Given our location in a residential neighbourhood we are at the mercy of anonymous complaints and excessively expensive fines," management wrote at the time. A civic group, Sauvons Le Plateau (Save the Plateau), suggested that the noise complaints came from a neighbour hellbent on extorting rent money from the bar. Other Plateau venues, the now defunct Bobards and Divan Orange, most notably, have endured similar problems with the borough's noise ordinances. Fans of Inspecteur Épingle can wallow in nostalgia and celebrate the soon-to-close bar here.