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Dive Into This Swimming Pool-Esque Bar, Moving Into Downtown Montreal

Club Pelicano is moving in beneath restaurant Tiradito

Club Pelicano/Supplied

Brace for a whole different kind of pool room, this one without poutine: the people behind downtown Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Tiradito are opening a downstairs bar, modelled after historical public baths and pools in Montreal and in France.

Club Pelicano is its name, and it should be opening in the next few weeks with a focus on natural wine, local beers, and bar snacks from two excellent Montreal chefs, Marcel Larrea (who spearheads the upstairs kitchen at Tiradito), and Fabrizia Rollo, of Mile End Italian counter Fabrizia.

Managing partner David Schmidt tells Eater that while the history of Pelicano’s basement space is unknown, it has a distinctive lowered concrete rectangle that suggests it could have once been a swimming pool.

“We decided that we would do an ode to the Montreal bathhouses that are turned into cultural centres.”

Club Pelicano/Supplied

Such public baths include the Écomusée du Fier Monde on Amherst Street, now a glimmering gallery space. But Schmidt, who designed the space, is drawing on one other big source of aquatic inspiration: Paris’ Piscine Molitor, the French capital’s first Olympic pool, known for its spectacular art déco design, and as the location where the world’s first bikini was worn. (It later fell into disrepair, became a rave venue, and was recently reborn as a pool.) Schmidt says the colour scheme at Pelicano will draw on the 1930s and ‘40s design of that pool.

“It’s got this really nice south of France colour scheme going, it reminded us of summer in Europe and that’s what we wanted to represent...we want it to be reminiscent of a summer in Europe, to be depaysante.

Piscine Molitor in Paris in the 1940s
Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Those light summer feelings will translate over to the wine selection: Schmidt says the wines will be “more quaffable, easy-drinking natural wines”, with some avant-garde options, mostly in the $35 to $60 range for a bottle. Pelicano isn’t signing on with a single beer company, and instead will go for a range of locally-brewed options.

It’ll all be rounded out with Rollo and Larrea’s bar snack menu — while Pelicano is connected to Tiradito upstairs, it will have a wholly separate menu and should lean into that Mediterranean, south-of-France approach: for example, the Pelicano kitchen will can and preserve its own fish. Schmidt emphasizes that from design, to menu, to bar program, Pelicano won’t be “Tiradito but as a bar” — despite sharing a ceiling with the popular restaurant, it will function completely separately, using a different door, different hours, and so on.

Schmidt is joined on the project by four others: Alex Kinx, formerly of Rouge Gorge’s Plateau cocktail bar Le Royal, Dimitri St-Louis, of swanky cocktail spot Nacarat, David Dumay of Tiradito, and Sebastien Jacques, who comes with experiences at wine bar Pullman, and downtown bar Furco.

“It was a natural for me that Club Pelicano should reflect things that I’ve been passionate about: visual art and design, mineral wines, and left field music, as a music junkie and avid record collector,” says Jacques. That means an Italian disco soundtrack, at times, but also periodic DJ nights, to morph Pelicano from a quieter bar into something more boisterous.

There’s no set opening date for the 60-seat bar yet, but it’s likely to be before the end of April.


1076 Rue de Bleury, Ville-Marie, QC H2Z 1N2 (514) 866-6776 Visit Website

Club Pelicano

1076 Rue de Bleury, Ville-Marie, QC H2Z 1N2 (514) 861-1515 Visit Website