The team behind September Surf Café made its first foray into nightlife last week.
Located in the space adjacent to the café, Stem Bar opened on Jan. 15 at 2475 Notre-Dame Street West in Little Burgundy. Co-owner Mitch Martin describes the new spot as “an extension of what we do during the day.”
The neighbouring venues are adjoined by a door, and share the same kitchen, Martin notes, so when September Surf closes, Stem Bar opens, serving up natural wines, craft beers, small sharing plates, and the “casual atmosphere” the café’s patrons have come to know and love.
“We always wanted September to be more of a lifestyle brand and place that’s not just limited to coffee,” Martin told Eater Montreal. “So, the place became available and we said, ‘let’s grab it.”
The narrow, cozy space seats 57 and is now open every Wednesday through Sunday. The staff behind Stem Bar are the same core team that have been with September Surf from the beginning: co-owners Martin, Isaac Berman, Ravi Handa, and a number of other community investors and silent partners. Sommellier Alessandro Ghirotto also joined the Stem Bar team to spearhead its natural wine list and head up the front of house.
While Martin notes that the bar’s focus is on drinks first and foremost, it will also serve small seasonal plates put together by head chef Kevin Tolton, who says he plans to switch up offerings “as often as possible” based on ingredient availability. “We’re just trying to have fun with it and keep it interesting and accessible for the neighbourhood,” Tolton said.
For now, that means dishes like burrata, tourtière, and terrine are on offer, among other “light and fresh” plates to share, Martin says.
So far, this approach has been a success, he notes, despite the typical challenges of a winter opening. Equipped with loyal patronage from the café, Stem Bar has remained full every night it’s been open.
“[The bar is] a place where our community can [...] go at night,” Martin says. “For people that like September, I think they can expect sort of the same vibe and the same service and the same product.”
STATUS: Stem Bar is now open on a walk-in basis at 2475 Notre-Dame Street West every Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 11 p.m. The bar does not take reservations.