Iconic Rosemont establishment Chez Roger has announced that it would close permanently after 80 years in business.
Bar owner Normand Guérin, who has owned Chez Roger for 20 years, made a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon announcing the shutter, citing reasons beyond his control. The neighbouring restaurant, Bistro Chez Roger, is not affected and currently plans to reopen after coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted.
The primary reason Guérin gave for the closure is the “obstinate refusal” of the building’s owners to renew Chez Roger’s lease in a way that would allow the bar to continue to function. The announcement hints that while some kind of lease renewal was offered, it did not include “acceptable conditions for this kind of business”.
Calling the bar a “part of Rosemont’s social fabric”, Guérin thanked a number of staff and partners in his post.
While Guérin noted that the ongoing coronavirus crisis was also a strain, he highlights the lease issue as a primary reason for the closure.
City records show that the building’s owner is one Richard Lalonde, along with a management company named Gestion Cellini. Tax records show that he has owned the building for at least a decade (possibly longer, as online records are not available for years prior to 2011). Neither Lalonde nor Gestion Cellini appear to have had any notable, well- publicized disputes with tenants before now.
Chez Roger is among the first hospitality businesses to decide to close down permanently during the coronavirus crisis, even if its owner didn’t cite the pandemic as the primary reason for closing. As bars and restaurants continue to stay closed to comply with social distancing rules, financial strains will escalate, meaning Chez Roger likely won’t be the last.
Every bar in Montreal (and Quebec) has been closed for about a month now, following a government order to help control the spread of COVID-19 (restaurants were ordered to close their dining rooms about a week later, although they may remain open for delivery and take-out). Such establishments will be required to stay closed until at least May 1, although it’s highly likely that the provincial government will extend the partial lockdown in the coming days, pushing that date back again.
- C’est la fin pour le Bar Chez Roger [Voir/L’Actualité]