The people behind meaty restaurants Grinder (in Griffintown, not to be confused with Grindr, a gay dating app) and Hachoir (on the Plateau) have opened up a new basement bar for Griffintown, King Crab.
According to food blog Tastet, the now-open bar is tucked beneath another new restaurant from the Grinder group, Makro, a high-end seafood spot that opened at the beginning of March. Owners Jean-François Corriveau and Léa d’Amboise told the site that the idea is to provide a complementary space to the upstairs restaurant as well as Grinder (which is on the same block), offering a loungey, nightclub-type spot for diners after their meals.
With design from the Gauley Brothers (see also: neat Franco-American spot Foiegwa down the street), it’s quite a chichi space: the walls are decked with hanging carpets, and the 75-seat bar features marble tables, plenty of mirrors, some rather shiny banquettes, and dramatic lighting. If you’re looking to figure out what kind of crowd will be there, there’s also a “selfie corner”, the Tastet story reports.
While King Crab shares ex-Hvor chef S’Arto Chartier-Otis with Makro, the food on offer takes a different approach to the seafood-oriented menu upstairs — the bar has a small selection of pizzas, served as full pies before 11 p.m. and as slices after that. Cocktails should be similar to Makro, with creative mixes from bar guy Samuel Trudeau.
The “basement speakeasy” format has been rather popular lately — King Crab is the latest iteration — since late 2016, at least five bars taking a similar, stony-and-subterranean approach have opened. Top cocktail spot Cold Room was the apparent trendsetter, followed by Le Royal (opened in early 2017 from the Rouge Gorge owners). In some cases, the bars are a way to utilize basement spaces that might otherwise just be left unoccupied or as storage for restaurants or bars on the main floor — for example, Nhâu Bar (beneath Vietnamese restaurant Hà in Old Montreal), Clandestino (beneath Venice and bar Boho in Old Montreal), and Henden (beneath Bird Bar, just a few metres away from Makro), are all relatively new additions. There’s also Pelicano, the swimming pool-themed boîte set to open beneath downtown restaurant Tiradito in the coming weeks.
King Crab is only the second section of a three-part plan for the Makro building — the Grinder group is planning to open a boutique hotel on the building’s upper level.
STATUS — King Crab is open at 1726 Notre-Dame West from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., Wednesday to Saturday.