Another notable architectural gem has been retooled as a compelling bar and restaurant space in Old Montreal. SafeHouse quietly opened earlier this week in the former Lancashire/Royal Securities Building, a bellwether in developer Projet Europa's stable of Old Montreal properties. The Toronto-based SpiritHouse flamed out here a year ago after nine short months. Now two Montreal bar veterans, Nick Leger (formerly of Mayfair), and Maxime Boivin (Taverne Midway), have stepped in to revamp the premises. "SafeHouse is a hybrid between a supper club and cocktail bar," Leger recently elaborated. "Focused on well-crafted drinks, select wines, and, soon to come, a fresh take on 'healthy bar food'. Our dining menu will include sharing plates, and well-balanced meals, leaning towards seafood, shellfish and oysters, with a variety of creative vegetarian choices. We're striving to achieve all the expectations of a higher-end destination, but with the relaxed and welcoming attitude of your favourite neighbourhood bar."
The building at 244 Saint-Jacques Ouest was designed by Montreal-based architect brothers Edward and William Sutherland Maxwell in 1898. Leger calls SafeHouse's digs "stunning" and is particularly excited about the building's large, arched windows, and beautifully crafted mouldings. The interior (85 seats, 2,000 square feet) has been given a spectacular facelift courtesy designers Kalven Kimball (familiar to some from stints at Soubois and Fitzroy) and Camilla Morera. "They added custom furniture, chandeliers, and an exquisite bar top," notes Leger. "We also purchased an old church altar from 1865, which we deconstructed, and integrated throughout the space, mainly our custom d.j. booth. It's a must-see. We also have a special surprise in store for the space further down the line." Cheers, Old Montreal.
Status: SafeHouse, 244 Saint-Jacques Ouest, now open Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. — eventually for lunch as well.
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