- By Colleen McNamara
Local marketing is all about ensuring that consumers nearby can find your business. But, what if your key objective is to have that off-the-beaten allure? Our tendency to share everything we do on social media (thanks to this little concept called Social Proof) has made the idea of finding that oh-so-cool spot and proving it through pictures is stronger than ever.
Our backyard (the snowy one, not the sunny California one) happens to be home to a wealth of these eclectic spots reserved for people “in the know.” While we’re all about preserving the authenticity of these awesome local spots, we’re also victims of the power of social proof. So, in the spirit of local marketing, we’re revealing a small sample of our favourite secret places. Shhhhh… try not to tell anyone!
1. Atwater Cocktail Club
Where to find it: On the corner of Atwater and Notre Dame, behind Foiegwa restaurant. Wander down the alleyway about 20 metres from the restaurant. If you see the dim red light, you’ve found the right spot.
Why we love it: This prohibition-style bar has the vibe of cool secrecy that you envision from a 1920’s Lower East Side bar. The atmosphere is romantic but not cheesy, and the cocktail menu is arguably one of the best in the city. There’s a no-standing policy until late at night, so room is very limited. Access your inner Don Draper and order the Buena Vista — a smokey scotch cocktail with notes of cigar.
2. Salon de thé Cardinal
Where to find it: On rue St. Laurent, a nondescript door leads you upstairs to the otherworldly tea salon. If you’d prefer to take another route, you can access the spot through The Sparrow restaurant.
Why we love it: Montreal gets extremely cold — and with that frigidness comes the cravings for hot beverages and toasty environments. For locals in the know, Salon de thé Cardinal offers classic English tea fair (like cucumber and cream cheese, deviled eggs and ploughman’s lunch), to be paired with the tea of your choice. Come for the hot tea, stay for the trip back in time.
3. Big in Japan Bar
Where to find it: On the corner of St. Laurent and Rue Rachel you’ll find a door with a small window, in between Montreal-fav Patati-Patata and a small clothing boutique. If you can’t find it… ask the folks in Patati-Patata. They’re friendly.
Why we love it: Want to buy a bottle, but fear you won’t be able to finish it? No sweat! You can just hang it right on the ceiling! Big in Japan’s novel bottle pay-now-drink-later concept makes lifetime visitors out of locals (how’s that for a strategy), but it’s more than that: the candles, the crowd and the service all combine to make you feel that serious sense of satisfaction that comes with being one of the lucky people “in the know.” You can thank us later.
Check back next month to discover more of our favourite Local Spots!
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