Final Nail In Pub’s Coffin


Anyone who knows me or reads this blog will be familiar with my more than passing love of bars and pubs. From my late teens (okay, perhaps my mid-teens) I have felt at home in these once smoky establishments.

As a younger man my preference was night-time forays to Montreal’s many drinking places. But with years and, I hope wisdom, I have made the transition to day drinking. An older crowd listening to better music and no social competition suites me to a tee.

I found a place that was such a good fit, it was almost a convulsion. Montreal’s Irish Embassy was the place

Of course finding a place that is just right is like coming across the proverbial needle in a haystack. But after much dogged research, tramping from watering hole to watering hole – someone had to do it, a few years ago I found a place that was such a good fit, it was almost a convulsion. Montreal’s Irish Embassy was the place.

Situated on Bishop Street, The Embassy occupied the site of many previous bars, including the one-time successful Woody’s and the basement haunt Baker Street.

… the Phoenix that will rise from The Embassy’s ashes will be, alas, yet another combination hotel/condominium glass box situated behind a grey stone façade.

The Embassy had all the items on many folks’ lists: location, fair prices, great staff and, good food. Throw in countless interesting regulars and you’ve got a great daytime drinkery. Unfortunately the other thing The Irish Embassy had was very old wiring. Sadly, in the early hours of March 24, 2018 a large fire put finish to the Embassy as we knew it (fortunately there were no injuries or worse)…. the Phoenix that will rise from The Embassy’s ashes will be, alas, yet another combination hotel/condominium glass box situated behind a grey stone façade.

The gutted remains of The Embassy have sat untouched (except for securing the place) since that dreadful day. But now news comes of a new life for The Embassy. Yes indeed, come 2022 there will be life in the old dog once again. Lamentably, that new life won’t be taking the form of an Irish Pub. No, as is the case with essentially every square inch of available real estate in downtown Montreal, the Phoenix that will rise from The Embassy’s ashes will be, alas, yet another combination hotel/condominium glass box situated behind a grey stone façade.

Long ago, those of us who were regulars lost hope that the place would ever be restored to some version of it’s former self. And most of us understand the economic viability of the condo market currently in Montreal. But the website advertising the project just seems like the final nail in the charred coffin of one more Montreal landmark.

Yet I doubt they will ever understand … the disembodied voice of a man with a Welsh accent yelling whenever a coaster is not used

While I sincerely wish the project owners all the very best of success, a part of me hopes that the residents appreciate just where they live. Yet I doubt they will ever understand the inexplicable appearance of a shot glass filled with, oddly, soup appearing on a granite kitchen island, a mysterious man looking for his blue glasses at the bottom of the outside stairs, the disembodied voice of a man with a Welsh accent yelling whenever a coaster is not used, the eerie nasal cackle of a favourite travel agent, a mystical older man insisting that crime doesn’t pay, the unmistakable sound of a rat pissing on a cotton ball, and, of course, the weird on again off again of the air conditioning. And if one day they wake up to find the Prime Minister of Canada making himself at home, not to worry.

I’m beginning to believe those who say 2020 is a doomed year!

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

5 thoughts on “Final Nail In Pub’s Coffin

  1. There was no better place to go and Paul you were a very nice person along with Doug and your staff hope what ever you do now you will be very successful as I know you will be have a great day and hope to have a drink at the brass soon stay safe gordies dad

  2. Almost ALL of Boston’s famous old pubs closed during the pandemic. I think a lot of them had been struggling anyway and the owners were old enough to retire. The probably got great prices for the real estate. But it won’t be much fun for drinkers. Those were great old pubs.

    1. I like The Beantown Pub directly across the street from the Granary Burying Ground. Their claim to fame? You can sit in their pub and have a cold Sam Adams while looking across the street at a cold Sam Adams!! Great slogan.

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