The owner of popular Old Montreal cocktail bar opens another new venue this week — an English-inspired pub and parlour, Parliament, at Place d’Youville in the heart of the old city.
As owner Kevin Demers previously told Eater, it’ll be a very British establishment, drawing some Victorian-era inspiration but also with an eye to Montreal’s history. The name comes from the pub’s location across from the former site of the Canadian parliament, until rioters torched it in 1849 (that location is now the Pointe-à-Callière history museum).
While it’s a pub, it would be remiss of Demers not to put on an impressive cocktail list, with the reputation Coldroom has built up — in putting it together, he researched 19th century cocktails for inspiration. (Parliament won’t actually replicate 1800s cocktails — more rudimentary alcohol production techniques at the time mean that genuine Victorian era cocktails were not necessarily overly appetizing.) Gin and fortified wine are two of the alcohols that will feature prominently.
As a pub, beer obviously won’t be overlooked — Parliament will offer relatively traditional beers, sourced from Quebec craft breweries; it will be one of few places in town to offer non-carbonated, unfiltered cask ales in the style of a true English public house.
On the food side, Demers has tapped chef Chanthy Yen to run the kitchen — while Yen’s last gig involved elements of Cambodian and Mexican cuisine at Mile End restaurant Fieldstone. Here, he’s taking on pub fare and offering some creative twists with items like bubble and squeak fritters with Marmite mayo, whelks on toast, or an Earl Grey and juniper berry gravlax with buckwheat crumpets. Some classics appear too — a steak with Yorkshire pudding, a Ploughman’s lunch, and a burger.
Demers and Yen are also jumping right into hosting some prominent visitors at Parliament: a group from London’s famed American Bar at the Savoy Hotel will be at Parliament Saturday August 10, putting together cocktail pairings for a five-course tasting menu — it’ll cost $153 per person. (A similar event will happen at Toronto’s Apres Wine Bar on August 11.)
The space, which was formerly restaurant La Gargote, has also had a big makeover: expect a classic woody pub look (complete with “snugs”, or private booths) and marble countertops. Two terrasses will also be offered by late summer — one in front, and one across the street by the museum (the same arrangement La Gargote had).
STATUS — Parliament is open at 351 Place d’Youville from noon to 1 a.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with changes possible in the opening weeks.