There are few places in Montreal that feel like home. Bars, mostly. One has such a special place in my heart that when it went through a renovation last year, I was nearly distressed. Would my favourite bar change? Would it become a spot where I was no longer welcome? Accepted? No, of course not. This is, after all, Bar des Pins we’re talking about. In my opinion, BDP is a Montreal landmark of such immense proportions that it makes the mountain seem redundant. Unfortunately, I have seen a disturbing trend within the confines of BDP. This has nothing to do with the hyper-masculine, popped-collar polo wearers who do pushups in between tables and argue over beer pong rules and protocol. No, these people are much more frightening. They are BDP patrons who dress nicely. They come wearing skirts, dresses, button-downs tucked into actual pants. Heels! Only someone with a death wish would wear heels in BDP, the floor covered by so much spilled beer on Tuesdays that it makes a cracked bone or two inevitable.
Recently, while spending a quiet evening drinking with friends and cast mates, we observed one particular group. They did not appear to be misinformed first-years, but rather a group of recent club or party attendees who somehow ended up at the corner of Parc and des Pins. Now, far be it from me to judge how people dress or what they wish to wear, but BDP is a place where, if you dress exceptionally well (fancy, to be exact), it will be noticed, and it will be ridiculed. And, believe me, it was. One of the girls had a skirt so short, while standing in her 4-inch heels, the cusp of her posterior was more than noticeable. It was staring at us. The shiny red shirt worn by one of the males immediately conjured images of bullfighters or upscale waiters. We were appalled that such outfits could make their way into our simple bar, and the jokes were merciless and abundant.
While my aim is not to deter individuals from going to BDP (and in the process, acting as a detriment to a business that has meant a great deal to me in the three and half years as a McGill attendee), I do have to say that I like my bars simple, and my outfits even simpler. While BDP is not Gogo Lounge or Tokyo (thank God), it’s still a place with a certain aesthetic and atmosphere that doesn’t lend itself well to those who attempt to break the casual nature of the bar by introducing outfits of a particularly “fashionable” nature. Perhaps the older regulars enjoy seeing the ass of a tall, leggy girl hanging out from below the hem of her dress, but for the rest of us it’s a distraction from our conversations and our beer, and not in a favourable way.
I hope those who go out clubbing and somehow end up at BDP realize that while their business is very welcome, it is also a source for much laughter from the other guests, such as myself, who see BDP as a place of delight, hilarity, and consistent $12.50 pitchers. I hope we can de-classy-fy BDP from this point forward, and accept that it’s a bar where jeans are the standard, and that shiny red shirts should be relegated to the entrance outfits of the UFC fighters who adorn the flat screen TVs of my favourite Montreal watering hole.