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Vandale par Le Speakeasy MTL
Photograph: Vandale par Le Speakeasy /

Old Montreal's newest restaurant embraces vandalism, invites artists to coat the walls with graffiti

Coming from the team behind Le Speakeasy MTL, Vandale invited 15 artists into their dining room to have their way with the walls.

JP Karwacki
Written by
Tommy Dion
Translated by
JP Karwacki

Vandale is a project that has been hovering in the air for several years from the team behind the not-so-secret underground operations of Le Speakeasy.

It started back in 2017, when they were vandalized for their first time. Throw a pandemic into the mix and that night in April  2021 when numerous merchants in Old Montreal were vandalized following anti-lockdown protests, and it didn't take much for owners Nicolas Delrieu and Cédric St-Onge to decide on pulling the trigger on this project.

Opening yesterday on September 16, the speakeasy in the basement remains unchanged, but up on the first floor it's a completely revamped interior and a new menu. It's the interior, though, that the owners have let the creative licence others take over.

"We removed all the walls and invited about fifteen artists to come and vandalize the place," Delrieu told Time Out Montreal. The result is graffiti and tags adorning the walls with an aim to impress with eloquence—bringing out the essence of the place without being intimidating and vulgar (despite the website's front-facing sentence 'Burn it all to the ground').

The vandalized theme extends to the plates and cocktails: Chef Alexandre Payon has created a colourful menu featuring Quebec products, while mixologist Jake Cristofaro has created a cocktail menu in honor of the artists who came to "vandalize" the place.

"Each cocktail is named after an artist and best represents their creation: the colors, the intentions, the tone," explains Delrieu. Terouz, Leylaisonfire and Bezo are on the drinking menu, as are artists Wolf Lab and Opoze.

For food, the chef who's been part of the team for more than three years developed a brand new menu in his image and that of the place. He prefers to go for quality rather than quantity, offering four small dishes, four larger ones and three desserts, sourcing as much as possible locally. It seems that even the plates will have a "vandalized" style. Why not?

As for the Speakeasy in the basement, it will remain closed until further notice due to lack of manpower, but this will still allow the team to focus on the new project. Nevertheless, they hope to be able to resume their boozier operations by November.

Vandale is now open in Old Montreal at 120 McGill Street from Tuesday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., and reservations can be made here.

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