Despite the distance, Bar 132 Vintage is worth going the extra mile for
For most people, Ahuntsic, the northern part of St. Laurent Boulevard, would not be first place to go to grab a casual drink. Unless you live in the area, it appears to be a long and daunting trek and many Montrealers are not too fond of that in the winter months. For cocktail lovers on the other hand, the trek reaps high reward because at the end of the long journey they will find a beautiful watering hole known as Bar 132 Vintage.
The diversity of cocktails and bartenders make the bar an unavoidable spot. Four bartenders work there, each with their own specialty: Phillip Letellier, a master in scotches; Jonathan Elbaz, whose specialty is fruity and sweet cocktails; Jean-Maxime Giguère, the owner; and Jean-François “Superman” Laurence, specializing in cocktail creation and culinary inspirations.
The bar also hosts guest bartenders every Monday, bands every two weeks on Saturdays, and is even pitching its own television program. Laurence said that the program would consist of making original drinks for the bands that play and then discussing the drinks and the band.
The bar also decided that one day per week the staff goes completely off-menu. Every Wednesday patrons are invited to fill out a small questionnaire and have a custom cocktail made for them based on their answers. Laurence says some of the questions include the person’s favourite dish, their budget and the type of glassware they like to help make the drink as unique as possible. The recipe is then written on the back of the questionnaire and the bartenders can recreate the drink at any time.
For special occasions, the bar hosts classy parties inspired by The Great Gatsby, where people dress in 1920s attire and classic cocktails are on the menu. The entire bar’s concept pays tribute to what Laurence called, in French, “the heydays of cocktails.” Laurence added in French that they will use many occasions to host such parties, whether it’s the bar’s birthday, the manager’s birthday, Halloween, or the Holidays. “We always try and create chic-themed nights,” he said.
Laurence’s favourite drink usually depends on his mood. In general, he likes the “Hanky-Panky,” a prohibition-era drink created by one of the first female bartenders, Ada Coleman, who made it for actor Sir Charles Hawtrey. According to Laurence, the story goes that the actor asked for a drink that packed a punch and after much experimenting, Coleman created the Hanky-Panky. It’s a dry gin, red vermouth and Fernet Branca cocktail. “It has panache,” said Laurence.
Bar 132 Vintage is located at 132 Fleury St. W and is open Sunday 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monday to Thursday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturday 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Irish Kiss, by Jean-Francois “Superman” Laurence
1/2oz Lime Juice
1 dash Rose Water
1/2 Egg White
Shake, strain and serve, with 3 drops of coriander bitters and 3 drops of chocolate bitters, with an orange zest.