Philémon Bar: Good Times in Old Montreal

Philémon Bar opened back in 2010 and eight years later, it continues to be a fun spot for an evening. Let’s share with you the story of a bar on rue Saint-Paul Ouest in Vieux-Montréal.

So who knows that rue Saint-Paul has its own story, being named after Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal who built a home here nearly 400 years ago ? And being close to the port, Saint-Paul Ouest became a street filled with warehouses, as was the building where Philemon Bar is located. Purpose-built in 1860 and rented to Bacon Bros (manufacturing agents), it housed their offices and stored all sorts of manufacture goods from heavy hardware for trains, mines etc. to dry goods.

Fast forward to 2010 and Philémon’s owners, Ariel Goldstein and Montreal’s first-class interior architect Zébulon Perron. The two had developed a friendship, nurtered over numerous nighttime adventures and shared a passion for the love of life. This evolved into searching for the ideal spot to open a bar when they stumbled upon this diamond-in-the-rough in Vieux-Montréal. « With all the development happening in the area, we wanted to create something for the people living around here, something elegant, welcoming and fun. »

Ariel and Zébulon were looking to open a bar serving good wine, good food, good cocktails and other wonderful things in life. The name Philémon is a nod to the French comic strip series of the same name, whose rural teenager character Philémon, goes through a series of adventures in the countryside. « I come from the Laurentians, and in the local library I discovered Tintin, Asterix and Philémon. My favourite was Philémon! »

Designer Zébulon Perron has once again come up with surroundings that match well with Philémon wanting everyone to have good time. On opening day, they were shouting « Montreal’s oldest neighbouhood get neighborly! » and if you cast your eyes around at the patrons, they reflect the surrounding businesses such as the marketing agencies, employees in the media industry and staff from other restaurants. Philémon was right and it continues to be an enjoyable place where you can drink and eat well.

Now we can segue into exactly what can be enjoyed at Philémon. The wine list is in the hands of Carolyn Aubry (Whine mom).

The menu features fresh pasta and sharing platters with cheese, charcuterie, vegetables, tapenades and more – you’re in for a treat. Their sister restaurant, Bon Service, take care of their food offering now.

« Our formula is to provide a warm and welcoming place for our customers and to take good care of them. We’re always ready to help and even join them so their evening here is a success. » Year after year, dozens of collaborators from the restaurant industry come to help the establishment celebrate its anniversary. Le Philémon has been an inspiration to many in the industry and a pioneer on many levels.

Bar Philémon offers its guests a festive atmosphere that is always pleasant. Thank you Philemon.

Photography by Philémon

Featured In

From the magazine

Restaurants open on Tuesdays

Finding a restaurant open on Tuesdays is becoming challenging. Some restaurants choose to take a break at the beginning of the week.