THE MEDIA — En Route, the Air Canada magazine known for its annual rankings of the country’s best new restaurants, has unveiled a whole new list, for the best new bars in Canada. The format is similar to its longer-running (and well-respected) Best New Restaurants list — it’s meant to be based on quality, not popularity, so the restaurant list is decided heavily by critics, while the bar one seems to be chosen partly by writers and journalists, but also by industry professionals, including Katherine Boushel of Montreal’s Atwater Cocktail Club.
The first Best New Bars list has dropped, and two Montreal bars made the top 10 cut — the Vietnamese-tinged Nhau Bar in Old Montreal came in fourth place with its fusiony cocktails (see: Pandan Sour) — food from the upstairs restaurant Hà (which is affiliated with the bar) seems to have helped. Then a few blocks over, Canada’s self-proclaimed smallest bar, El Pequeño came in eighth for its unpretentious Cuban cocktails from the people behind nearby cocktail spot Cold Room. “There’s not much flashy bar work here, and it’s not needed,” wrote the judge. Top honours went to Dartmouth, N.S. bar The Watch That Ends The Night.
PLACE DES ARTS — The not-for-profit Quartier des Spectacles organization is looking to get more restaurants onto its turf, beyond the existing offerings in Place-des-Arts, which include Normand Toqué’s Brasserie T and the Ferreira Group’s Taverne F. They’ve put out an open call for applications for restaurateurs who want to set up in the upcoming Ilot Clark, wedged alongside Ste-Catherine and Clark streets. A 2,000 square foot restaurant and smaller café will be chosen to occupy the space starting fall 2019, which will be a public terrasse in warmer months and feature an ice skating rink in the winter.
MILE END — Here’s a feast idea: Laurier Avenue newcomer Mayhem has introduced a seven-course feast served on banana leaves. It’s based around Filipino-style kamayan meals, and features five-spice ribs, longanisa sausage, papaya salad, and more — book at least a day in advance though.
SOUTH SHORE — The mixed bag beer, cocktail, and electronic music festival Octenbulle will have its second outing over Thanksgiving weekend — brewers like Boldwin and Farnham will be on site, as will distilleries such as Shefford and Distillerie du Fjord; it runs over four days with free entry before 4 p.m. on the Saturday, Sunday, and MOnday.
OLD MONTREAL — Also returning this year is the Montreal Vegan Festival — it happens at Palais des Congrès on October 20 and 21.