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After 35 Years, Montreal’s Only Bookshop-Bistro Calls It Quits Due To COVID-19

Plus, a new fund to help out restaurant workers is launched, and more news to know

Librairie Olivieri/Facebook

CÔTE-DES-NEIGES — After Rosemont bar Chez Roger and Mile End fish-and-chip shop Comptoir 21 comes another victim of the coronavirus shutdown: CDN restaurant and bookstore Librarie Olivieri has announced on social media that after 35 years in business, it won’t reopen. The heartfelt note from Olivieri’s owners calls the current situation “the perfect storm” — before the pandemic, construction from nearby condos was impacting business, and would have made it impossible for Olivieri to open a terrasse this summer (and ongoing social distancing rules likely mean the bookstore wouldn’t be able to hold events for some time). Construction had briefly closed Olivieri before, in 2016, but this time it seems that the francophone literary hub is gone for good, sadly.

Chers clients et clientes, chers amis et amies. Nous avons aujourd’hui une bien triste nouvelle à vous annoncer. Une de...

Posted by Librairie Olivieri on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

CANADA AT LARGE — Service workers across the country have a new option for emergency financial aid, with the Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund (CHWRF) recently being founded. It will offer grants of up to $500 — that’s higher than the equivalent Montreal fund for restaurant workers (which maxes out at $150), possibly because the CHWRF has some corporate backers behind it, including Uber Eats and appliance manufacturer Garland Canada. Applications for workers who need help open on the fund’s website on May 6.

Bonjour, Je vous écris concernant la situation de la Buvette Chez Simone, mais également du bar Henrietta, de la...

Posted by Buvette chez Simone on Monday, April 27, 2020

MILE END — Another bar has been ensnared in the provincial government’s very specific rule that restaurants can serve take-out food during the pandemic, but bars cannot: Buvette Chez Simone on Parc had planned to sell some of its menu on a to-go basis, but an owner recently took to Facebook to explain that the plans had to be scrapped. A similar situation unfolded with St-Henri establishment Loïc, when it was busted a few weeks back when it opened for take-out, because it has a bar permit.

Taverne Cobra, one of four bars hit by molotov cocktail attacks last week
Taverna Cobra/Facebook

LITTLE ITALY AND SURROUNDS — While firebombings have been much less common in Montreal for the last couple of years, a rash of molotov cocktail attacks has hit bars on the city’s north side — Taverne Cobra, Le P’tit Buck, Bar 1650, and Bar Cherry were all targeted over the course of last week, according to La Presse. Nobody was injured.


LITTLE ITALY — Unlike Ontario and parts of the U.S., Quebec hasn’t tweaked its laws to allow restaurants to sell cocktails to-go during the COVID-19 crisis. However, bar supply store Alambika has devised a work-around of sorts — they’ve created some quite appealing cocktail mixes (pictured above), and you just need to add the spirits (each mix has a suggested, Quebec-made spirit to go with it, too). They’ll be available via Alambika and certain restaurants around town.

Pizzeria Bros/Facebook

HOCHELAGA — Opening a new restaurant in the middle of a pandemic: It might sound like a courageous plan (perhaps overly so), but somebody did it: Old Montreal-based pizza spot Pizzeria Bros just opened on Ontario East. And yes, they’re offering delivery.

YOUR LOCAL PRIVATE WINE IMPORTER — Serious wine people, take note: private importers are now allowed to sell mixed cases of wine, a change from the previous rule that banned mixed-and-matched cases. However, as Tout Sur Le Vin reports, it’s apparently a temporary, pandemic-times-only rule.