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From an old website, Alien in Montreal

Le 940 is so new that it doesn't yet have a soul. The wood looks varnished and recently laid, the metal gleams as if just polished, and the ashtrays are devoid of chips. The barman cleans each glass with a towel and holds it up to the light to check it for stains before putting it away. Not your average back-street drinking pit, this, you think, as you walk in and sit on one of the barstools.

Actually, looking around, it looks more like a restaurant than a bar. There is a greeting desk in the middle of the room of the kind found in fancy restaurants (and pizzadelic). The venue is perhaps confused as to its designation.

Anyway, I order my beer in French, which I think is best, in this part of town. As the barman pulls the wrong beer in the wrong sized glass I hear him joking with the manager in English.

Ah well, I think.

My mini-beer costs $4. I have my wallet and money out, and in my hand as the barman puts the glass down. He then walks away to do other things. Right, I think, a tab then. And put away my money.

A couple of minutes later the barman comes back and presents me with the bill. I stare at him and manage to muster some terrible French about paying later. He understands and puts the bill under a small glass on the bar, whose function is now clear.

I'm still speaking to him in French, because he's speaking to me in French.

Some fifteen minutes later, I'm deep in thought and have my beer in my hand, between sips. My confusing barman walks by and catches my eye. I smile and wave my glass at him in friendly greeting. He says, 'Okay', and dashes off to pour me another half-pint. It's too late to stop him. My beer is only half-empty as he puts down the next one. He gives me a queer look, obviously wondering why I want another beer when my last one is still quite full.

I make a show of being thirsty and drink down my old beer in one go. He smiles and places another bill under the glass on the bar.

From this moment on, I don't do any more waving of my hands.

Now a surly looking man from the kitchen appears, with two pizzas. He places one next to the man to my left, and the other next to me. He gives me a small plate and says, 'Bon Appetit.'

I didn't order any pizza and I'm understandably worried. Perhaps I accidentally waved my hands about again, or moved my head in such a way that orders food.

My mind races for the right French and I come up with, 'C'est quoi, ca?' Which is probably a bit rude, but the best I could think of.

He stares at me with infinite patience, and says, 'It's for everyone.'

Well, that's a bonus, I think, and eat half of it in about ten minutes. I figure that it makes up for the expensive pint, consisting as it does, of two $4 halfs.

I overhear the barman telling another customer that there is free pizza at the bar everyday, so get there while it lasts... but keep your hands on the bar.


Address: Corner of Mont-Royal and Montagne.
Metro: Mont-Royal