James Rooster taverne and grill
3 Rue de la Commune, Montreal, Canada
514 842 3822
James Rooster taverne and grill Montreal Reviews
Cozy Cellar dining and drinks Apr 05, 2008
The James Rooster pub is located down by the water in Old Montreal, right across the way from the Science Museum and IMAX theater. As you walk north from there, towards the basilica, you'll spot a sign for the James Rooster right by a small stone archway built into the wall.
It's pretty inconspicuous, and that's part of its charm. Because we were trying to kill time until sunset, we decided to pop in for a quick beer. The stone archway leads you through a short tunnel and then into a charming little courtyard, which is much more reminiscent of Europe than North America.
Anyway, it was pretty early, around 5, so the place hadn't started picking up yet. There were 2 couples at the bar besides us, but the restaurant part seemed to be pretty empty.
The "bar" part is situated in kind of a a stone cellar converted into a lounge, with cozy lighting, arched ceilings, and the hockey game playing on one of the large plasma tvs. I don't know if the site of the James Rooster used to actually be a cellar, or if it was just designed that way as an afterthought, but it sure did look like an old dungeon or something!
The waitress/bartender was really friendly and helpful.
I had a pint of the St. Ambroise Vintage Ale from the tap, which is locally made by the McAuslan Brewery, right in the city of Montreal itself. It was very nice and good complex flavors, just enough hoppiness. Mmm.
My friend had a bottle of the Apricot Wheat Ale, also made by St. Ambroise. This one had the most delicious apricoty aroma and lovely finish. It's a shame the Apricot Wheat Ale only came in bottle form because I could have easily had a pint or two, it really was delicious!
The food specials for the evening were posted on a chalkboard in the bar. There was some kind of roast beef special, and gravlax (aka smoked salmon). When you order a drink at the bar, you get a complimentary little platter of hors d'oeuvres, I guess they change from night to night. When we went we got little crostini topped with both slices of roast beef and a dijon-mayonnaise sauce, and (particularly tasty) gravlax with a dill and creme fraiche sauce. Mmm.
If we'd stayed for dinner I think I would've ordered that, even though all the entrees were a little pricey.
One of my favorite things about the James Rooster was the intimate feel of the place; one of the cooks came out from the kitchen wanting some kind of liquor from the bartender to add to his bowl. It just seemed really organically put together and not too stuffy.
I'd say the James Rooster is a perfect location to go for drinks before dinner, expecially if you're on a date and especially if it's early enough to have the place mostly to yourselves. Plus it's in a lovely, scenic area right by the water and you can take a nice stroll along the river afterwards.
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