From an old website, Alien in Montreal
Irrationally, I don't like the three brasseurs at all. It is perhaps because of the fight I had in their roof restaurant once, over poor service - we had all waited a long time for our food and then, when asked to pay the bill, were forced to wait twenty more minutes. In the end I went to ask the staff what was happening.
'We have run out of paper for the machine.' I was told, stroppily.
What the hell does that mean anyway?
'That's no my problem,' I told her, 'we want our bill.'
And we got it, eventually, and I left muttering.
Or, even, the time we came in at 1am for a few drinks and were told, after ordering one, that they would be closing at 2am, instead of the usual 3am. The reason, we were informed, was that there were not enough people to justify staying open. I could count at least 14 people in the bar at that point - just how many is 'enough' for these people?
So, I float in through the main, street-level entrance, and sit at the bar. As I wait for service I look around at the old and new wood, thrown together in an obviously contrived manner - desperate to look old and interesting.
I order a pint of Ambre, and the barmaid replies, in a management-programmed reflex, with, 'And will you be eating with that?'
I'm reminded of McDonald's mantra of, 'Something to drink with that?' But in reverse.
And, what's more, she answered me in English. I mean, I do try and speak French but what can you do when faced with this?
I decline food and sip my beer. I'm not offered a tab, but am expected to pay immediately. Every drink, every order, is printed on a slip of paper, which seems entirely wasteful to me.
The beer is good - the 3 Brasseurs is a microbrewery, and the gleaming copper vats are on view in one corner of the pub. There are two workers dressed in white, polishing the things. In fact, as I look around, everyone seems to be forced to wear white tops, and to continually polish and tidy, to never settle and be at rest. I suspect that the same management that insists on the 'eating with that?' also can't stand to see anyone idling.
As I get up to leave, some twenty minutes later, the barmaid wanders over and asks, 'Autre chose?'
Downstairs, there is a sign on the bathroom door that says, 'Vandalism will not be tolerated - Security Camera!'
Disturbed, I enter and search the place before urinating. I feel a bit like a cheap spy on the TV whilst doing this. I can't see a camera, and this is lucky, as if I did, I'd be so outraged that I'd probably pull it out by its wires.
1658 Rue St-Denis Montréal, Quebec, H2X 3K6 Canada phone: (514) 845-1660