I’ve raved more than once about my favourite little beauty bars where I love to treat myself and get my nails done. Vanity is a curse; I know. So, when mini-Montreal chain Rouge Nail Bar opened up a “sister concept” – Bleu Blow Dry Bar – right next door to their Fairmount location, my first thought was, This is a match made in heaven. Or was it, Thank heaven!
Now, when you’re preparing for a girls’ night out (likewise, a first date or a work interview – but that’s the same thing, isn’t it?), you can surrender your tresses to the hands of a pro for a polished, put-together look. For $30, you can choose from half a dozen styles in their Bleu Blow Dry Bar menu. It might cost a bit more if your hair is unbelievably long and thick and curly, in which case I hereby hate you. The best part is, it shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes.
Your six options include: the “Marianne” for “poker straight” locks; the “Suzanne,” a retro look with a little pouf on the crown; the “Carrie,” Hollywood curls (or should I say New York curls?); the “Farrah” (if this needs explanation, go ask your mum); the “Lulu,” a sexy ponytail à la Brigitte Bardot; and the “flirty flip” called “Amélie.” Jessica, my stylist, suggested for me a blend between the Marianne and Farrah. I call it the “Marrah.”
If you’re into a bit more pampering, there’s also a Moroccan Oil treatment for an extra $15. Either way, the price includes a thorough head massage, er, shampooing, a relaxing way to end your day or start the evening.
When you’re getting your OPI or Butter manicure (from $25) and/or pedicure (from $35), get comfy on the white leather couch and take in an episode of Sex & the City or Gossip Girl, or peruse the Mural of Mile End Men that showcases, amongst others, cult poet Leonard Cohen, media mogul Moses Znaimer, and novelist Mordecai Richler, all of whom link their roots to this hip Montreal ‘hood. (Read about the Montreal connection in Barney’s Version, Richler’s novel, which is now a movie debuting Dec. 24.)
Once your coif and nails are gorgeous, you’ll be ready for a little mix and mingling. I like cinq-à-septs at Baldwin Barmacie, Pullman, Les Cavistes, and nearby Bond Lounge Grill (101 Fairmount Avenue West), the latter being a groovy spot (when you see the décor, you’ll see what I mean) to nibble on tapas and sip on chic cocktails – and it’s on the same street. On Wednesday nights, ladies eat dinner for free when they order a martini. With that extra cash in your purse, you’ll be laughing all the way to the salon.
65 Fairmount Avenue West
Reservations recommended: (514) 507-3003
Montreal insider tip: On Mondays, a mani-pedi combo is only $45 before 2 p.m.
Nearby nibble: You should also know that Rouge and Bleu are situated right across from Fairmount Bagel (74 Fairmount Avenue West), the famous bakery for, you guessed it, bagels.