From an old website, Alien in Montreal
So we stare at the computer screen for perhaps an hour, and it doesn't look like we're going to do anything. We're determined to discover a new bar tonight, but all we can find on the internet are Irish pubs hosting Open Mic nights, which we've had enough of for now (remind me to tell you about it sometime).
We look at the Jello Bar for quite a long time, reading of live music, over 50 martinis and visits by LL Cool J. It looks expensive. The wife calls to ask what the dress code is.
'City dress', she's told, crisply.
'Oh, thanks.' She says, confused.
We finally stumble across a nice sounding bar, chilled out, near Metro McGill, which has some rave reviews and is touted as the greatest place to relax and chill out in Montreal, almost. It's called the Luba Lounge. There's no cover charge, and no dress code.
Anyway, half an hour later and we're peering in the window. It looks very dark. It is, in fact, so dark that we can't see, and we stand around in the dimness for quite a few minutes before being able to see much at all. The lighting is provided by several antique lamps scattered around, that all have red shades. In fact, they have red bulbs inside them too, for added red-ness.
The only seat is next to a couple who are enjoying the dimness by snogging gratuitously in the corner. We can actually hear them slurping. We sit beside them and they stop.
The barmaid stares at us from behind the bar. Minutes pass. She finally, with an inaudible sigh, comes to take our order. We, after a lengthy dither, during which time my wife actually asks this question:
'What drinks do you have?'
(Which I always find amusing in a pub setting)
Order and get two pints, and it isn't too expensive. Right about now about ten youngish people enter and sit all around us. They know the snoggers. We give up our sofa seats and move to an uncomfortable table with hard backed chairs.
This time I go to the bar, as I can't face waiting for the barmaid to come and take our order.
At the bar she simply stares at me.
I stare back.
Time passes. She says nothing.
'Two martinis, please.' I say.
She makes two of the worst martinis ever – shaken for, oh, perhaps three seconds and then poured, with disdain into our oversized glasses. What's worse is that she seems to use special bottles for the martinis that I suspect contains watered down gin (but I'm only suspicious). She also uses 'Martini' instead of vermouth, I suppose, technically that 'Martini' is supposed to be vermouth, but lets face it, it's shite.
She put the drinks in front of me and says, 'Thirteen.'
I stare at her.
No please, no thanks you, she doesn't even bother to use the word 'dollar'. It's like she doesn't want to expend any more words on me than she has to.
We drink our shite martinis and leave.
On the way home we pass by, coincidentally, the Jello Bar. Slightly tipsy, we decide to try and enter – 'I've got my credit card!' Says the wife.
She's wearing jeans and I'm wearing old brown boots. I have paranoia about clubs and old brown boots now, since Australia (Another longish story, but suffice to say that we were once refused entry to a club in Brisbane because we were wearing 'brown shoes')
Anyway, we're in and there's a compulsory coat check for a $1 each, which is a bad beginning. Well, we faff about and there are no seats, but it's funky and cool and we finally order two Manhattans, not worrying (or asking) the price, but simply handing over a credit card to run a tab (which seems cooler than counting pennies at the bar). The drinks are good and the barmaid cool and sleek at her business.
We get drunk and watch the band. My wife dances. I smoke a lot of cigarettes.
I decide to order another 'classic' gin martini, hoping it will be better. I watch the barmaid do her cocktail-esque stuff and then, imagine my horror, as she pulls out another bloody bottle of 'Martini' and pours it into the shaker. As you can imagine (or maybe you can't) it was shite (but better than the Luba Lounge version).
When we mentioned our night to Qbert he said, 'Oh yeah, I know that place, my friend was turned away for having brown shoes.'
I kid you not.