Every now and then a transformation occurs that takes your breath away. While the city of Montreal continues to transition into one of rising food-loving trends, the wonderfully designed Bar St-Denis is leading the charge.
Forged as a passion project for chefs David Gauthie rand Emily Homsy, the location has evolved into the full package. The sleek art-deco theme combine with a contemporary edge separates the project from the rest on a visual aspect, but Gauthie and Homsy have not allowed Bar St-Denis to become all style and no substance.
With the location’s previous life existing as a local dive bar, the two forward-thinking chefs teamed up with locally based company Appareil Architecture to realise their dream. According to the architects, the owners of BSD were inspired by the aesthetics of ‘gentlemen clubs’ of the past and were tasked with creating an inviting atmosphere where “sharing plates and wine take centre stage”.
Given the location’s standing in the past, the immediate challenge was to separate the instant imagery from that of the previous aesthetics. Relying on these of materials such as marble and wood, which lend the bar its character, the architects have successfully managed to make the space feel suitably airy and clear while harnessing a sense of closeness between staff and customers in a unique layout triumph.
But while Bar St-Denis has achieved a visual triumph, the owners have their feet firmly planted in the local community. “We just want a place where people could come, have a drink, eat, but they don’t have to eat, and where it’s going to be a big party at the end of the night,” Homsy told Eater. “There’s not a lot of elements on the plate[s], but they’re really well put-together and with quality ingredients.
“We tried to make it nice but also timeless — using things that are going to age well,” Gauthier added.
Visible through its large windows on St-Denis street, the focal point of this project is a huge, entirely bespoke, luminous ceiling inspired by art-deco which almost takes on a Kubrick-esque cinematic quality. “Touches of ash wood and green marble create an atypical composition, wherein noble materials are skillfully balanced with wood’s relaxed nature,” the architects commented, allowing an insight into their unrelenting attention to detail.
The 70-seat space holds very little pretence. With two experienced chefs at the helm, Bar St-Denis offers carefully considered food that triumphs the idea of sharing with others. Cocktails are on offer for those who desire them, as is a friendly atmosphere and relaxed take on a modern establishment.
All images provided to Far Out Magazine via Appareil Architecture. See more of their work, here.