A bit off the beaten bar track, Baron Samedi is a New Orleans-themed bar named for a free-living spirit of Haitian voodoo. As Montreal is filled with interesting bars, it's a challenge to come up with something new. But Baron Samedi seems to have risen to the occasion with this Louisiana voodoo bar.
Popular with a diverse crowd, which is always a good sign, it's heavy on the late-twenties set and those hailing from this Rosemont neighborhood. Others are enticed to make the trek northeast because of word of mouth about the decor, party, hearty vibe, good food and even better prices.
Drinks at Baron Samedi bar in Montreal — Photo courtesy of Baron Samedi
Inside, patrons sit around tables made from old doors under low lights emitting from bottomless clear glass bottles. Virgin Mary statues and voodoo beads add to the decor, as does a large bar area.
A backlit piano and old black-and-white photos of Creole folk adds to the slightly spooky ambience and loud music. Tunes are mostly hip hop but some punk and fusion, supplied by a DJ who plays until 3 a.m. On Saturday evenings, guest DJs take over the tunes, and drink specials abound.
Holidays and sports events are taken seriously here, with the bar soliciting suggestions via its Facebook page for Mardi Gras and New Year's Eve parties, with Champagne for the winning table.
Drink specials during game time will get you a shooter and a beer for eight dollars. Until 9 p.m., draft specials can be had on their excellent local beer, normally around five dollars a pint. And after 9 p.m., it's 10 shooters for $25. Other attractions and contests include a hot sauce quaffing competition.
Reasonably priced drinks include the usual wine and beer, but whiskey is the house specialty, with plenty to choose from off a long menu.
And that's where the specialty cocktails come in. Particularly popular is the Sazerac, a New Orleans variation of a whiskey cocktail. The Sazerac is believed to be the first American cocktail, invented in 1838 by Antoine Peychaud, a French Creole from New Orleans. The Baron Samedi version combines rye whisky, Peychaud bitters and sugar.
A decent selection of snacks includes mac and cheese balls, poutine pulled pork and grilled cheese for seven dollars each. Or if you feel like a bigger meal, order the spicy shrimp gumbo or voodoo-style shrimp and New Orleans fried chicken.
Since the place just opened in fall of 2014, service can be a bit irregular, particularly on busy nights. But that's no reason not to check out Montreal's newest and coolest bar.