Christmas at the bar, tradition reviewed and corrected
Christmas visiting the in-laws is not for everyone. Some prefer to celebrate this moment with friends over a good pint.
This is the case of Éliane Rochette, who, for several years, gathered her band every 25th in the evening at the karaoke bar Le Normandie in the Village.
“With two friends from college, we realized that none of us had a family party on the 25th. So we launched an invitation to go to karaoke to other friends. Some celebrated Christmas the days before, others had supper, but ended early and was flat. We picked up a good dozen at the first edition. We repeated the experience for a long time, which we called “The Christmas of the lonely”, “she tells Métro.
Apart from Le Normandie, the options for outings on December 24 and 25 are limited… but there are some!
The vast majority of bars approached by Metro reported closing their doors for both Christmas Eve. Among those who are exceptions to the rule: the Nacho Libre, in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, and the Astral 2000, in Centre-Sud.
Time to party in good company
“Most of the last few years we were open. And it has always been a great success,” says Pier Bourque, owner of Nacho Libre.
The owner expects the visit to be quite numerous and in festive mode. “It’s surprising how very busy it can be! We feel that there are some who are very happy to be able to celebrate surrounded by people, in a pleasant atmosphere, especially since the options are limited on these evenings. »
The fauna is varied, explains the proprietor, “but everyone becomes friends in two seconds and wishes each other a Merry Christmas”.
In Normandy, Éliane Rochette recalls that she was surprised to see about forty people celebrating in the bar like “a normal Saturday”, but with more Christmas songs.
“We called it the “Christmas of the lonely”, but we were not so alone after all. It was a beautiful diverse group. It was a nice little party.”
At Nacho Libre too, Pier also predicts that Christmas 2022 will be lively, but not as lively as December 31, when the champagne is flowing, he says.
At Christmas, the atmosphere would be rather warm, “those present becoming friends in a split second”. On the 24th, Nacho Libre wants everyone to be even more comfortable and so organizes a pajama party.
With the chosen family
The same warm feeling at the Astral 2000 karaoke bar, which promises to have you singing Christmas classics.
The family business passed down from parents to children claims to have never closed its doors for Christmas, in order to celebrate with its mostly regular customers. Together they have become one big family.
Alain St-Pierre, the current owner, says that his parents stayed at the time to have a drink with the customers on the 24th and 25th, then began to organize small Christmas buffets with sandwiches and salads for these people who had no not necessarily a family or warm place to go on those late December evenings.
To this day, he maintains this tradition and still organizes a buffet for his clientele. “It's important for us to provide that Christmas feeling, of family, for people in the neighborhood who feel at home here all the time.” Customers appreciate it very much, he rejoices.
The goal, in all open bars, is to have fun. No question of putting pressure on anyone to be there. In this regard, the owner of Nacho Libre specifies that he does not force any employee to work on these evenings, but that there are always some who volunteer.
These are employees without family or whose loved ones are outside the country or who simply do not celebrate Christmas. For others, “the holiday season has been expensive and they need to replenish the coffers by accepting extra shifts“.
This year, at Nacho Libre, we can count on the presence of two people behind the bar, one behind the turntables and another responsible for security at the door.
Whether you're a regular at these places or someone looking to continue the party once Grandpa and Grandma are gone go to bed, the Nacho Libre, the Astral 2000 or the Normandie will be able to welcome you.