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Photograph: Darwin Doleyres

36 notable Montreal restaurants and bars permanently closed due to the pandemic

These notable restaurants and bars in Montreal have permanently closed, serving as a reminder to keep up supporting local businesses.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
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UPDATE January 4, 2021: A new year can mean new hopes for many, but permanent closures of restaurants and bars in Montreal continue due to the pandemic. What started with an original 15 names on this list now sits at 36, growing to include well-known cafés and venues that deserve to be remembered for their service to the city. The latest names that have shut their doors for good can be found at the top, and if these names are revived under new ownership with the same name, they'll be removed; for example, Saint Henri's Café Joe has reopened, so it's been removed. Please note that this list only tracks what has closed since Québec's first lockdown on March 15, 2020—anything beforehand is excluded.

We're working hard to keep track of how much our city is changing. Know of a noteworthy restaurant that's not listed here? Send our editors an email.

Don't get us wrong, no one's more excited than us to start going back to when restaurants can reopen in Montreal, but it's also a bittersweet time for us. We're happy that many of our favourite cafésbars, bistros, restaurants and spots for the best cheap eats in Montreal have managed to weather the pandemic, but some haven't.

Dining rooms and bars can't open right now, and even when they can, it's a rough start with limited capacities and a lot of new rules and regulations concerning public health. It's more important than ever to support local businesses, either by buying merch and gift certificates or continuing to order up the best delivery and takeout—every little bit counts. We want to take this time to remember the amazing work of places that have given us some of our fondest memories, but did not make it through this current crisis.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to what is open and closed in Montreal right now

Notable Montreal restaurants and bars that have permanently closed

On December 19, the Haitian restaurant announced on its social media accounts that that weekend would mark its "last Agrikol service" and that it would be closing "for the foreseeable future". Since that story broke, Agrikol's building went up for sale at a $1.35-million price tag. While the team behind Agrikol may embark on another project in the future, it's lights out for one of this city's greatest festive dining experiences.

Caffè Farina

Following a post on Facebook at the beginning of September 2020, the Saint-Henri Italian café looked to for boozy brunches confirmed its closure, according to Silo 57. Montrealers in the area will have to look elsewhere for Italian eats.

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Cyr

Following its participation in the 2020 edition of the Invasion Cocktail festival in the last weeks of September, the swanky bar Cyr—named after the famed Montreal strongman Louis Cyr—has quietly marked that it is permanently closed on its social media. We're going to miss that hidden downstairs vodka bar made of ice (no joke).

La Récolte

After seven years of serving Quebec terroir in the form of unforgettable brunches and dinners, ones that elevated this corner bistro to a highly-lauded status in the city, La Récolte made the difficult decision to close its doors for good. On November 20, the owners Étienne Huot, Lyssa Barrera, and Denis Vukmirovic posted on Facebook that "the last few months have been very challenging for all. The area of restoration, as you certainly know, has suffered a lot. Unfortunately our Harvest will not escape. It is with a big heart that we announce the permanent closure."

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Tokyo Bar

Roughly one week after 2 Pierrots announced its permanent closure in Montreal, Tokyo Bar quietly followed suit by removing its social media platforms and marking its business as 'permanently closed' on Google. An iconic nightlife destination in the Plateau, Eater Montreal reported that this had been in the works since October 22, pointing to Montreal DJ Chops Wunda's public statement about Tokyo Bar: "Hearing the news about Tokyo Bar’s closing hurts. It was Goontribe’s home for some 20 odd years. We literally grew up there. I will cherish (those) memories forever."

2 Pierrots

One week into November 2020, Old Montreal's bar and performance venue 2 Pierrots announced that it would close its doors after 46 long years of raucous parties and hosting singers and songwriters from across the province. What began in 1974 with Pierre David and Pierre Rochette (hence the name 2Pierrots) had become a popular gathering place celebrated in the city, and legendary elsewhere in Québec. "2Pierrots is a story of several generations, several love stories, and great friendships," the owner wrote in a post online. "(It) is much more than a building. It is a soul, and it will remain very much alive!"

The institution noted that it will host a virtual farewell on December 12 from 7pm to 10pm EST via its Facebook page.

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After 28 years in business at its iconic refurbished 1950s diner location on Saint-Denis in the Plateau, La Pizzaiolle was forced to close its inaugural spot. Citing the construction as a partial cause, the pandemic exacerbated its difficulties with surviving. While this restaurant's other two locations in TMR and Old Montreal are currently still open (but closed temporarily for the time being), it's unfortunately the end for one of the city's more unique establishments.

La Caverne

First reported by Eater Montreal, the Russian restaurant La Caverne has been forced to close after 20 years of operation on October 27, one day after the Quebec Premier François Legault announced the extension of the lockdown by another four week. In an announcement on Facebook, the restaurant said the following: "All these years we have shared with you the important events in your life. These are hundreds of birthdays, weddings and other memorable dates and gatherings. All these years we did our best and have been happy to welcome you, to serve you tasty meals and to make your evenings warm and entertaining." They'll be missed.

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Buffet Vichy

Folks who stick to the central and eastern side of the island may not have known Buffet Vichy, but it was a big destination for family gatherings in LaSalle. While it may not surprise Montrealers to hear about a buffet restaurant closing at a time like this, it's nonetheless unfortunate to see a popular community staple known for feasting on the cheap (how many other places can you eat non-stop for lunch for less than $10?) leave the scene in the Montreal. 

First announcing it would close temporarily to take a break during the month of October amid a renewed lockdown enforced by the government, Grumman '78 conceded that it would no longer be open on October 19, 2020. This pioneering enterprise that spent a decade single-handedly restarted Montreal's street food scene (despite the absurd limitations around food safety) and created a dining icon at a time when the city was flush with European bistros said that it would be retiring its famous chartreuse green, 1978 GMC taco truck and restaurant. After hosting Montrealers' and visitors' weddings, funerals, parties and partaking in an innumerable amount of the city's food festivals, one of the best restaurants in the city has succumbed to the effects of the pandemic.

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Le Blumenthal

A promising bistro that opened in 2017 just a stone's throw from downtown Montreal's Place des Festivals, the French-leaning (but consistently creative) bistro Le Blumenthal announced that it would be closing permanently following the government's second lockdown of bars and restaurants in October. Named for the century-old building it was located in, this meticulously Gauley Brothers-deisgned space that had an all-star team of ex-Leméac chef de cuisine Rémi Brunelle, chef Kevin Bouchard, ex-Auberge St-Gabriel Sarah Bergeron and Nic Urli (owner of the Vietnamese restaurat Hà) quietly said goobye.

L'Escalier

Known as a bohemian hotspot with its initimable boho chic interior (way, way before "boho chic" was a thing), its vegetarian menus, cheap boze and being the site of so many up-and-coming Montreal-based and visiting musicians, the upstairs L'Escalier has been forced to close during October after 14 years of serving the city. It first shut its doors after Montreal's first lockdown in March 2020, but with three months left on its lease, the venue conceded that it would need to close permanently. While the owners have posted online that the space and its spirit may live on at another location, the first L'Escalier is no more.

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Coton

A large hybrid event space and restaurant that opened in 2017 thanks to its owners Corinne Fortin, Camille Mongeau and Laurence Secours, Coton announced that it would be closing the doors on its concept in July 2020. "It's happening," the owners wrote on Facebook. "Three years later it's time to say goodbye...  After serving over 15,000 customers pass, heard hundreds of karaoke songs, broken over 300 glasses, made over 1000 tacos, cleaned up dozens of vomit, invested thousands of dollars, loaded and unloaded a SHITLOAD of kegs and crates of wine... current circumstances are forcing us to break our lease and a small part of our hearts."

Chez Chose

Chez Chose was a neighbourhood bistro in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, and as such, maybe not all Montrealers knew it. True restaurant heads knew the work of its chef Marie-France Desrosiers, though. The restaurant's convivial atmosphere and sumptuous takes on Quebec terroir made it a popular destination in the city, and it'll be sorely missed following its announced closure in September 2020. However, it's not the complete end of the space as a whole: "...We want to reassure you that our departure has nothing to do with the current global pandemic, but rather with a desire to sleep longer on Sunday morning," they wrote on Facebook. "The restaurant will be handed over to a great, talented young chef who will definitely be able to prolong the presentation of local products as we did so well." The new promised operation, however, will likely not assume the name of its predecessor. Details to come.

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Esquina

The Plateau café Esquina—the one Montrealers could find next to the concert hall La Tulipe—has closed. Owner Roxanne Matte-Guilbault closed down initially during Montreal's first lockdown in March, but the third wave café was unable to withstand the difficulties, trials and tribulations that the pandemic caused. "It's time for me to say goodbye," the owner wrote on the café's Facebook page. "This is what marks the end of Esquina's life... of this amazing and difficult adventure at the same time. Time for me to move on."

L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean

After 29 years of serving sauce-covered steak frites from its location on Peel, this French bistro was forced to close. With its exceedingly intimate setup, a reduced dining room capacity made things exceedingly difficult for the restaurant to survive. "It is with great sadness that we announce the official closure of our restaurant," their website announced at the beginning of September. "We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these 29 wonderful years that we have spent together." While it's not exactly the same experience, L'Entrecôte Saint-Jean's Quebec City location remains open for those who will miss its Montreal address.

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Meloche 27

Back in 2019, the Saint-Henri location of the Dilallo franchise opted to go its own way after decades of operation by going under the name of Meloche 27, after its owner and former NHL player Gilles Meloche. While they largely remained quiet about the shift, it caught attention, but it may have been a poorly timed switch: Without remaining part of the Dilallo family, the restaurant had to effectively go on its own during the pandemic and couldn't survive. In September, they announced their closure to the public: "It is with great emotion that we announce today the permanent restaurant closures," they wrote. "The Meloche family would like to thank the customers who have been loyal to them so many years."

Chez Yolande

For those in the know, they knew it well (as well as anyone who went to James Lyng high school in the last 20+ years): Chez Yolande, a restaurant who served exceedingly cheap breakfasts to Saint-Henri residents for decades, was forced to close. Confirmed by the neighbourhood's residents in an online Facebook group for dwellers of the Hen, this was a place where you could grab a full breakfast for less than $10—something that's increasingly rare in this city—but not any longer. RIP.

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Les Fillettes

August 30 marked the last day of service for one of Montreal's most classic destinations for as many brunches as it was for romantic dinners. After five years of operation in the city, the owners of the neighbourhood bistro Les Fillettes announced their closure in a Facebook post: "...We no longer have the physical, emotional and financial strength to continue the operations of what has long been our second home," they wrote. "We wish we could have continued this adventure, but we are able to weather this crisis."

Moishes

After 83 years, the iconic Jewish steakhouse Moishes is calling it quits on its original Plateau address. Despite having weathered the turmoil and uncertainty of the Second World War, the ice storm of 1998, historic moments of political upheaval in the city and economic recessions, the pandemic's effect on foot traffic, tourism and indoor dining brought down this monolithic figure. It's not the complete and utter end of Moishes, however. Back in 2018, Quebec’s Sportscene group—known for the sports bar chain La Cage aux Sports and Quebec locations of Chinese-American restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s—purchased Moishes with the intent of moving it to to a new location between downtown and Old Montreal, but those plans remain on hiatus. The point is that this Moishes, the one of fond memories for many Montrealers, is no more.

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La Vitrola

La Vitrola may have only had six years under its belt, but it was an indelible members of the Suoni per il Popolo family of venue-bars that also included Casa del Popolo and la Sala Rossa (breathe easy now, those last two are still functioning). Back at the end of June this year, however, co-owner Mauro Pezzenta posted on Facebook that "with no vaccine for Covid-19 in sight soon and debt building and building (Kiva Stimac and myself) have realized we cannot keep La Vitrola open." Pour one out for a sorely missed bar and performance space when you can, Montreal. 

While the effect of the virus on the restaurant industry run deep, one of the biggest blows has been made to the fine dining sector, whether or not their name carries a lot of weight. Provisions is (and hopefully the only) latest name to be adversely affected with its 25-seat restaurant buckling under pressure and moving operations over to both their meat-forward nieghbour Boucherie Bar à Vin Provisions and an all-new ice cream joint. "We knew we had a decision to make as to whether we paused or moved or closed," chef Hakim Rahal told Time Out in an interview. "COVID kind of made the decision for us."

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Balsam Inn

Few places were better than Balsam Inn for just as many quick 5 à 7s downtown as they were for long meals lounging on its terrasse by Dominion Square. Immaculately designed in a way that evoked Wes Anderson films, warm in the winter and too cool for school in the summer, it sadly closed due to difficulties directly related to the pandemic. Thankfully, it's survived by the Dominion Square Tavern next door.

Chef Fisun Ecran has been one of Montreal's best ambassadors for Turkish cuisine (and according to some, THE best). Her restaurant in Verdun had always been a well-kept secret among casual diners in the city and a necessary place to go for those in the know. While Ecran announced the closure of Su on June 16, it was planned to happen before the pandemic struck the industry at large a blow in March. After 14 years in the business, the highly lauded chef will go on to tackle new projects at Ferme Bika.

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House of Jazz

A longtime stalwart of the jazz bar scene in Montreal, the original House of Jazz location downtown definitively closed its doors on June 24. Originally opened in 1981 by George Durst and the late bassist Charlie Biddle, the venue was a prime hotspot for live music during the International Jazz Festival. From its unique interior décor featuring Baroque and Rococo elements to the fiberglass statues of the Blues Brothers atop its entryway, it was a well-loved institution in town. While this might come as sad news to some, the business' Laval location is still up and running, having reopened its doors on June 25.

Chasse-Galerie

Having run its course since 2016, it took little time for Chasse-Galerie to capture a lot of hearts, minds and stomachs from its sub-basement address on Saint-Denis (no easy feat when you consider how tough that part of town can be to run to restaurant). The fine dining destination wasn't able to survive the pandemic, but the owners have since decided to flip its operation into a new restaurant, La Maisonette. It's simply that we won't get to experience what it once was anymore.

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GaNaDaRa

Open since September of 2012, if you were ever wondering what was causing a huge line-up on Maisonneuve Boulevard a stone's throw away from Concordia University? This was it. Unfortunately, that's over now since the restaurant announced its closure on Instagram with direct reference to the outbreak. It will, however, be survived by Bar Ganadara up the street on Ste-Catherine West. See you in the future for fried chicken and beer, old friend.

Snack 'N' Blues

Truth be told, this Mile End dive bar been for sale in a turn-key format for a little while now, but the pandemic has only exacerbated its ability to survive. It's where many-a dates both bad and good have happened, many bowls of snacks were eaten, and many cheap beers were drank; it's where many great open mics have gone down and where many bartenders got a good and honest start in the city. We'd normally hope new owners show up and keep it alive, but those would be big shoes to fill.

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Le Smoking Vallée

After 8 years of BYOB service to the nieghbourhood of Saint-Henri and beyond, this restaurant—part of a family of similar restaurants around town—decided to close up shop. It's unknown as to whether or not the closure was directly related to the pandemic, but with fine dining destinations facing often massive difficulties in switching to takeout and delivery, the likelihood is there.  

Café Coop Touski

While the loss of a well-known destination for dining in Montreal's a sad affair, losing a place built on the basis of cooperative ownership and community can hit even harder. Good for as many snacks and coffee as it was a place to support local artists, the collective behind the space had previously crowdfunded and bought their building, but have since opted to shut down and face potential bankruptcy. 

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Le Lendemain de Veille

Known for its breakfasts and brunches on Saint-Hubert Street, this small spot was just beginning to see progress in the six months prior to the outbreak. Once forced to close in March, the restaurant has since had no choice but to shutter for good since that time, leaving us all with one less awesome place to have a couple beers and poutine and call it breakfast. 

Librarie Olivieri

Montreal's first bookstore-café was one of the first notable closure to come out of the pandemic, all the more unfortunate when considering this Côte-des-Neiges destination had been open and running for over 35 years. With its decision to close came a lot of Montrealers remembering having a great place to chill out with a book and fine coffee.

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Comptoir 21 (St-Viateur & Gilford)

While this fish and chips chain continue to operate elsewhere in the city, its location on Saint-Viateur in the Mile End has been forced to close its doors. It's not only a victim of the upheavel the pandemic has cuased, but of callous landlords as well; a local reported in a Facebook post that the owners received a substantial rent increase despite the circumstances around COVID-19 or more than $1000 more a month. Its locations in Verdun and the Plateau continue forward as far as we know.

 

Bar-B-Barn

Having originally opened on Guy Street near Concordia University in 1967, you—if you're either new to the city or focused on flashier, newer spots—may not have had the chance to eat here. Locals loved it for its convivial atmosphere, and having served Montrealers for over 50 years, it was an institution for many. The announced closure brought with it a lot of lamentations, but the owners felt social distancing and limited capacity, plus further demands that the outbreak requires of restaurants, would eb too much for them to continue. The restaurant's location in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, however, lives on according to a report by the CBC.

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It continues to be an uphill climb for restaurants in Chinatown, as stigmatic discrimination and unwarranted apprehensions directly or indirectly affected diners' choices over going to this small neighbourhood area. While most Chinese restaurants have yet to close in the face of this, Orange Rouge has. A unique fine dining destination for the area with a kitchen run by chef Minh Phat that took a pan-Asian approach to its menu, despite it switching over to takeout for several weeks, the business could not weather a lack of business. 

Tacos Frida (Gay Village)

On June 26, Tacos Frida's announced that it would be closing its Gay Village location on Facebook. The location was the Oaxacan family's first foray into expanding beyond their popular business beyond the original Saint-Henri location which, thankfully, continues in an even larger dining room than before. Montrealers can continue to grab cheap and delicious tacos from Frida, just not east of downtown any longer.

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