Walking into Dominion Square Tavern will feel like stepping back in time. This in part due to the intentionally antiqued decor and attention to traditional drinks and dishes and in part to the building’s own storied history in downtown Montreal. Located adjacent to its namesake park, Dominion Square, which was renamed in 1987 as Dorchester Square, the name which it is still known today, Dominion Square Tavern first opened its doors in 1927 as a hotel and restaurant. Though the business thrived during the roaring twenties and survived the Great Depression, a fire would later destroy the majority of the hotel leaving behind a few rooms and the restaurant. In its second incarnation, the restaurant evolved into one of the city’s most popular gay bars throughout the ’70’s with restricted access for men only. In 1988, a Quebec law revoked the exclusive access to bars throughout the province, thereby allowing women patrons.
In 2009, Dominion Square Tavern took its current form, once again returning to a restaurant and bar. The tavern maintains the original chandelier and terrazzo floors from its early beginnings and holds on to its historic sensibility through other elements that hint to its illustrious past.
The restaurant caters to a French-Canadian palette with clear British influences. Appetizers include the traditional Scotch Egg and Pork Terrine and main courses range from Braised Beef to Roasted Cornish Hen to salads prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients. As such, it can be difficult to choose among the many enticing offerings on the menu, but the Fish & Chips special, generally offered on Fridays, is highly recommended. The cocktail list sticks to traditional classics, all carefully crafted and not likely to disappoint, but the simplistic, Gin & Tonic, prepared with house-made tonic is a clear standout.
Reservations recommended; outdoor terrace in warmer months.
1243 rue Metcalfe
18 years and older only