What the Hotel Loews Vogue’s L’Opera Bar lacks in size, it makes up for in Francine. You see, Francine has been the bartender there for 20 years (“I started when I was 15” she told me with a mischievous laugh) and legend has it she makes a mean cocktail.
It was clear that some serious investigation on my part was required…
Though Montreal does have a couple good ones, the Hotel bar is usually not a place that locals tend to frequent. Enter Francine, a smiling and flirting dervish behind the bar who is so beloved by her Montreal-abiding regulars that every October they throw her a massive birthday party that goes late into the night. How many hotel bars can boast that?
Though we sampled from some of their food menu (the salmon tartar and crabcake sliders made a serious impression on my taste buds), it was the cocktails that we came for. Francine started us with some light and refreshing fruit-garnished concoctions- one with fresh mint and rum, the other with gin and white raspberry juice. From there, we had a unique (and much more subtle than usual) play on the Cosmopolitan and finished things off with a perfect dirty martini. We cut ourselves off at that point because of one of Francine’s personal touches: the double cocktail. The concept is simple but effective: she mixes the drinks big, pours you one and then leaves a whole other drink for you in a snifter. A classy 2-for-1.
Francine is behind the bar, from 5-12 every Tuesday through Friday. If you’re wandering around Montreal’s downtown core and want to relax a bit while planning the night ahead, I recommend stopping in. Come for the cocktails, stay for the Francine.
L’Opera Bar, 1425 Rue De La Montagne
Loews Hotel Vogue, (514) 285-5555