Montreal's current crop of cafés double as used record shops, haberdashers, barber shops, animal shelters, and, more commonly, general stores, and pastry shops. Few, however, have the architectural cachet or dual identity of the newest coffee shop in the city. Crew Collective & Café, now open to the public, engages, and largely preserves the splendour of the main hall of the Royal Bank Tower, at 360 Saint-Jacques Ouest. Once the tallest landmark in Canada, and, indeed, the British Empire, the tower was abandoned in 2010 after decades of service as Royal Bank's corporate headquarters. The spectacular, historic space now belongs to new tenant Crew, an "invite-only community where you meet top freelance designers, developers, or studios to build your next project."
"We’re taking this old building and moving it into a new era of work," Crew CEO and co-founder Mikael Cho told the Gazette, in reference to the refurb of the ground-floor as a café, shared work environment, and company headquarters. Crew's Joseph MacNeil elaborated this past January: "We've grown a lot, and needed a new office to fit all of us. However, instead of doing the typical startup office, we're going to be opening a café open to the public, which will feature super-fast (free) WiFi, silence pods (for doing focused work), as well as amazing coffee [from Café Saint-Henri]. Fifty-foot-high ceilings, 12,000 square feet of space, which, unless I'm mistaken, means it will be the biggest café in Montreal (and probably the prettiest, too)."
Status: Crew Café, 360 Saint-Jacques Ouest, open weekdays 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.