From an old website, Alien in Montreal
There is an incongruous, ornate stone fountain on your right as you enter the Mad Hatter Saloon. It distracts you just long enough to stop you from looking into the bar as you take your first few steps inside. When you do look forward, you're presented with an American style barn-bar normally seen in 1980's American movies, such as Top Gun and Roadhouse.
I make my way past a table full of staring, pitcher-of-beer-sippers, and along the long bar. It's another one of these pubs with the beer pumps on the far side of the bar so you have to peer at the choices like a myopic Mister Magoo. I have to walk for some time until I find a space at the bar, and finally sit down near the table football, between two monitors showing hockey.
A pint of Boreale Rousse costs me $5.25. I stare at the large screen in front of me and roll a cigarette. Toronto are battling Ottawa. A replay is shown over and over again at one point of a Senator using his stick like a baseball bat on some poor guy's back.
It's loud in this bar. I mean, really loud. The music is turned up so high that everyone is shouting at each other – the bar staff, the patrons, the chef, everyone.
So I don't talk to anyone. It's just too much effort to shout your sentences into someone's general direction and then strain for the reply. It gets easier after a few beers of course, but I'm just not in the mood tonight. I finish my beer, and go.