Home Life Barraca Rhumerie & Tapas: Montreal’s unique happy medium

Barraca Rhumerie & Tapas: Montreal’s unique happy medium

by The Concordian February 28, 2012 0 comment

Ernest Hemingway once wrote that a clean, well-lit café was better than any bar. To me, that sounds like a challenge. Sure, cafés are cozy and cute; they serve tiny food on tiny plates and you can have a conversation with someone without screaming over a bass-heavy beat. But bars are more electrifying; you can drink anything your heart desires and dancing is more or less warranted the drunker you get.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think I have found Montreal’s happy medium.
Barraca Rhumerie & Tapas is a mix of cozy café and lively pub. The wood accents, wrought-iron chandeliers and low lighting make for the inviting café atmosphere, but the bar’s impressive selection of rums make for the perfect bar experience.
It is home to over 55 kinds of rum from places all over the world including Brazil, Jamaica, Venezuela and of course, Cuba. They serve everything from Captain Morgan to 21-year-old Flor de Caña. It is available by the glass, as a shooter, or in one of their amazing tropical-flavoured cocktails. Along with plenty of rum, they also serve local and imported beer and have an extensive Spanish wine list. The prices of the drinks are reasonable when compared with other bars in the area, if maybe a bit on the steep side. Prices depend on the rum; how old it is and how much the bar paid to have it on hand, but a glass generally costs around $6.
The food is definitely the next high point of this unique rum bar. Chef Guillermo Lopez created a long list of tapas, which are tiny Spanish-inspired appetizers, as well as one-serving casseroles and plates of mixed meat and vegetables. Their most interesting and flavourful appetizer, grilled almonds with both sugar and spice, is a Latin take on the traditional peanuts found at most pubs. Their tapas are $3 each, which seems like a reasonable price, but keep in mind that you will only be getting one appetizer-sized bite of food. They are, however, kind of worth it. The tiny bites packed a huge punch, and never ceased to amaze me. If you are looking for something more sustaining, their casseroles are the way to go. Everything from breakfast-style egg and mushroom, to bar-style french fry and spicy ketchup casseroles make the bar even more unique than it already is. To make it even more enticing, if a lady orders one of these specialty casseroles on game night, it comes with a free cocktail. If that doesn’t have you running over there, I don’t know what will.
Barraca has a live DJ every night, playing everything from Latin-inspired to Top 40. It makes for a diverse experience and I even felt the need to Shazam a couple of the songs for later reference. It wasn’t too loud or annoying, which is welcomed in a time when conversation is stifled by the booming music played in most bars.
The patrons pick up the pace after 10 p.m. and start flooding into the bar, but it’s barely noticeable. Everyone in the bar is mellow and nonchalant, including the waitresses and bartenders. There is a bit of a wait service-wise, but you will always be served with a smile. And a glass of rum, of course.

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