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Bar St-Denis, Montreal, Appareil architecture

After a few stiff drinks, the surroundings in which they’re imbibed often fade into the background. There’s little chance of that happening at Montreal’s Bar St-Denis.

As designed by locally based Appareil Architecture, the meticulously appointed, 188-square-metre establishment just a couple of blocks east of Jean-Talon Market is a paragon of light and texture, its disparate bespoke elements – a luminous art-deco-inspired ceiling, the pleated terracotta bar front – as seamlessly blended as a well-mixed cocktail.

In order to distinguish the space from its previous incarnation, which was also a bar, chef/owners David Gauthier and Emily Homsy, formerly of the esteemed Montreal restaurant Au Pied du Cochon, sought to create an eatery and drinking den with the vibe of a modern gentleman’s club, its look and feel as refined yet accessible as their small-plates menu and wine list.

Enter the team from Appareil, which delivered on the mandate by combining a rich materials palette (including ash, green marble, leather and pink ceramics) with well-articulated space planning.

Against one wall of the 70-seat space – a black-brick expanse that runs almost the entire length of the room – is a series of distinct eating areas. One features a row of ash-topped tables and black wooden armchairs alongside a banquette with a pleated-leather back. Another zone consists of high-top marble tables paired with the metal-and-ash Floe stools made by the architecture firm’s in-house design arm, Appareil Ateiler.

Across from the dining areas is a marble-topped bar fronted by pink leather swivel stools and a pleated terracotta base. The rosy effect is echoed on the slatted pink-ceramic walls of the restrooms, which are reached by passing an open kitchen.

The pièce de résistance of Bar St-Denis, however, is without a doubt the illuminated patterned ceiling. Influenced by art deco style, it imbues the space with a pleasing glow and is visible from St-Denis Street through the bar’s large front windows.

“This distinctive element,” Appareil says, “bathes the space in a sweeping light and creates a singular atmosphere.” All the better to savour both the elegant setting and another round of drinks.

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.