Written by Felicia Di Palma on 13.03.14

Montreal offers a variety of bars: jazz bars, dive bars, pretentious bars, bars with sand pales full of booze, and much more. One type of a bar that Montreal does not have enough of is a secret, speakeasy bar. Enter Big in Japan Bar.

Big in Japan Bar is located on St-Laurent St, near Rachel. It does not have sign hanging outside, and it has no visible address. Unless you know to look for a big newly gray door (it used to be red) with two small Japanese symbols on the window, you will continuously pass by this location and never know what treasures lie inside. Be careful! Do not mistake with its counterpart Big in Japan the restaurant.

A long curtained off hallway will stand between you and the relaxed vibe inside. Passed the curtains, patrons will notice the unorthodox shaped bar. If viewed from above, the bar’s shape resembles a tree; with its patrons sitting at the ‘branches’: long rectangular tables and bartenders serving them from within the ‘trunk’. Big in Japan bar has speakeasy written all over it. An elegantly dressed staff and dim lighting provided by rows and rows of tea candles throughout the watering hole help guests feel instantly transported to the 1920s.

Hanging above the bartenders are columns of Japanese whiskey bottles. Patrons can actually purchase these bottles. If by the end of the night the whiskey bottle is unfinished, the bartender will write the customer’s name on it and save it for the customer’s return to the establishment. If whiskey is not to your liking, Big in Japan offers a great selection of gin and rum based cocktails, along with sakes, wine and umeshu; a Japanese liqueur made from Japanese apricots and sugar. Most cocktails are typically around $10-$15, depending on the type of drink.

Although Big in Japan Bar does not advertise (the only way to know about it is through word of mouth), it has received a lot of attention in the underground scene. Showing up early is definitely recommended. It has the perfect ambiance for a date or for a small group of friends.

Look for a gray door next to Patati Patata
4175 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal QC

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