The smaller the better
A part from its size, the first thing that strikes you when La Distillerie is unveiled to you, is its style. By style I donít mean custom Italian design look, but more of an authentic bar look, almost like a British pub. In fact, La Distillerie represents the quintessence of what a Montreal bar is for me, just a mash up of the best features of many cultures. A high bar (like the Brits), with high stools (like I donít know who), lots of copper around the bar, a prominent Jack Daniels obsession (like our neighbors to the south), a smaller Bacardi obsession and finally a set of 10 friendly rules to observe on the premises, a definite Quebecer approach to having a good night.
No good hang out place is complete without the sounds, and La Distillerie dives directly into my tastes with a regular lineup of live Pearl Jam, Red Hot and other big names of rock to please people that were already listening to music in the 90ies, and know that there was rock before Linkin Park. To top it all, La Distillerie has hired the same DJ as me at home: Winamp on shuffle mode. How much better is that than having the same compilation CD looping all the time? These people must be geniuses to listen to music the same way as me.
But what really sets La Distillerie apart from other all other joints are their drinks. All drinks are prepared in front of you, using freshly squeezed lemons, limes and whatever other fruits they need, their signature fresh mint and lots and lots of alcohol. That attention to ingredients makes their cocktails and especially their mojitos amazing; so much that I have started making them at home using the same recipe as La Distillerie, acquired through numerous occasions of spying on their bartenders. There are always new cocktails available, and all drinks can be served in the barís signature specialty, large glass jars, like the ones used by your grand-father to store fruits and vegetables in for the winter. I am serious; I am not making this up. And they are pretty big. Usually, there is enough alcohol in one of those jars to make you happy and much more. That was the case one night, when without realizing the full extent of what I was doing, I accomplished one of my childhood dreams: while listening to George Thorogoodís classic drinking anthem, we ordered one bourbon, one scotch and one beer each, which we then quickly chugged. Only then do you really understand the meaning of that song. And so does your wallet, because in your enthusiasm you offered to treat all your friends to the same.
All this makes La Distillerie the perfect place to hit during the week, with a group of good friends that enjoy a good drink. Try it once and youíll back for some more smallness sooner than youíd like to admit.
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