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The People Behind One of Montreal’s Finest Cocktail Bars Have a New Project

The owners of Bar Cloakroom are opening a big new Old Montreal bar, right now

A glass bowl of fruit in front of a concrete wall.
A source of inspiration for bar Stillife
Stillife/Supplied

The owners of excellent downtown cocktail spot Bar Cloakroom are debuting a new project in Old Montreal.

Named Stillife (spelled with two Ls), it opens today (Thursday, November 28) on St-Paul West, just near McGill Street.

According to co-owner Andrew Whibley, Stilllife will cast its net wider than the small and very cocktail-focused Cloakroom.

“It started as an idea to do more of an apertivo style amaro and vermouth focused cocktail bar,” he says. But with room for 125 people, it’ll also offer a robust beer and wine program, as well as light, booze-friendly bites like charcuterie and cheese options.

And while aperitivo-style options will have a sizable presence, the full cocktail list will run to some 29 drinks.

Whibley adds that another goal of the bar is to be sustainable and low-waste, and says he and co-owners JP Haddad and Diego Iovino have worked hard to ensure that as little produce as possible goes to waste from the bar.

“I’ve been to Italy a few times, and when you see these [wine and spirit] producers and what they’re doing, they’re like the OGs of sustainability,” says Whibley, talking about their inspiration.

He points to a daiquiri that will be on the menu as one example of how Stillife will aim for sustainability.

“I worked on citrus for six months trying to figure out the best way to process it, and give it a bit of a second life...I make it into a cordial and ferment it with a kombucha scoby. That allows you to keep the juice for an extra 10 days or so and the flavour still has that sharpness to it — we’re going to be doing a slush daiquiri with that, and that’ll be one of our signatures.”

Whibley also points to the use of orange peel in old fashioneds — instead of keeping a large stash of oranges for those, Whibley’s team has extracted a citrus oil

Stillife joins a small number of other bars like Pamplemousse, Club Pelicano, and no-waste pub La Cale with this approach — the bar is aiming to push it further once it settles in, with plans to focus on using more seasonal products in its cocktails in future.

Prices are approachable too, particularly for OldMontreal — cocktails start at $8, and are mostly in the $12 to $15 range. Beers on tap will include options from Beau’s in eastern Ontario, and Quebec craft brewery Farnham, plus Basque-style ciders from Cidrerie Le Sonambule near Quebec City.

The Cloakroom team brought in architecture firm Alain Carle to design Stillife’s 2,400 square foot space — much of the bar is built on concrete, and a large metal and glass partition allows them to split the space if needed. Compared to Cloakroom, it’s a room that works well for groups, with open space for moving around.

STATUS — Stillife is open at 640 St-Paul West from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday.

Bar Cloakroom

2175 de la Montagne, Montreal, Quebec H3G1Z8 (514) 284-9393

STILLIFE

640 Saint-Paul Street West, Ville-Marie, QC H3C 1L9 (514) 750-7676 Visit Website

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