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Nouveau Palais for a group event?

Hi all,

I've been away from Montreal for a while but will be in town on a Wednesday night. I'm looking for a place where I can hang out and have friends drop by for food or drinks. It could be anywhere from 5 - 20 people. I don't want a formal dinner or a large group seating. I imagine something more akin to a bar, where people can show up at any time and mingle among tables if we spread across multiple tables. Many will be on a budget (<$20 for a main) and many will probably just order a drink or two. All this to say, would Nouveau Palais fit the bill? I haven't yet been and I don't know the layout. I'm hoping for something casual and fun for people in their late 20's/early 30's coming from different parts of the city. Nouveau Palais has me intrigued mostly because i used to go to the "old" Nouveau Palais fairly often for breakfast back when I lived in the hood. Any other possibilities? In the past, we've done similar events at Billy Kun...but there's no food there and I want to try something different. Thanks for any advice!

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  1. I wasn't familiar with the "old" version, but it looks like it hasn't changed in 50 years -- AFAIK only the kitchen/menu/bar is different.

    I think it sounds appropriate for what you describe, but you should call them to check.

    1. You have to check with them if you can just have a drink...

      Other than that, just call and I'm certain they can reserve a couple of banquettes at the back.

      The actual "bar area is quite small.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Maximilien

        They have a bar licence so you can definitely just drink.
        As far as layout... I don't think they changed too much from the old set up (I haven't been to the new one)... but it's all booths, small booths that fit 4 or 2 tightly... I don't know about banquettes at the back but moving around between tables would be pretty tight.

        1. re: chickenbruiser

          Sparrow's your best bet... but not for 20 people! If that's the case, try Casa or Cagibi... not sure where else you can hang out all night long and eat/drink on a budget in Montreal, unless it's at a wine bar that serves canapes.. but even then $20 is tight and you wouldn't be able to accommodate the possibility of half that many people without a res. Pick a bar or lounge based on scene and location and do it that way otherwise, 'cause what you're looking for doesn't really exist here.

      2. helm, next door to nouveau palais might do. it is a bar with pretty decent small plates. i went on a groupon a while ago, and liked it enough to return multiple times

        1. Le Comptoir might work.

          1. Ya, that's tough. None of the tables at NP can be moved. The largest one seats 6 or so, or the ones by the bar could maybe seat 12-14 if you all sat at adjacent booths. However, they don't take reservations and can sometimes be quite busy, so you'd have get there early or have incredible luck if a lot of people were going to be there all at once. I agree that Helm may be a good bet. Or maybe reservoir?

            14 Replies
            1. re: Fintastic

              Thank you all for the feedback and ideas! I'm leaning toward scrapping the food idea and focusing on a good casual bar. The crowd's all grad students and I think Helm and Reservoir are too fancy. We're all more hippy than hipster and more hipster than, say, lawyer types. This is why we always go to Billy Kun and I just can't think of any other bar in the city like it....except for, perhaps, La Quincaillerie, which we also go to a lot for group celebrations. I'd like to try somewhere new but perhaps it just doesn't exist!

              1. re: foodinspace

                billy kun is about 1000times more hipster than helm or reservoir
                i mean, they have a dj that plays microglitch
                helm and reservoir are definitely not fancy bars

                1. re: foodinspace

                  Seriously. Billy Kun is your idea of downscale? lol. Join me for a pub crawl on The Main sometime...

                  1. re: Shattered

                    Yup, sounds like a Main dive (Bifteck, Barfly...) would be a good venue for this gathering.

                    1. re: Mr F

                      does Miami still exist?? haven't looked up in a while

                      1. re: chickenbruiser

                        Very funny everyone. I never once said that I thought Billy Kun was downscale. I just find Reservoir a bit less casual than Billy Kun. The latter seems much more amenable to a big group where you can gather chairs or stand, make a bit of a mess, and, yes, listen to microglitch, ha, ha. It's a mixed group so I'm just trying to find something with broad appeal. Some like style, some like dives. Everyone has different tastes and personally, I like Billy Kun...I've long been searching for something similar.

                        1. re: foodinspace

                          I for one wasn't trying to be funny, but with your additional info.... how about the Waverly (@ St-Laurent and St-Viateur)?

                          http://barwaverly.com/blog/

                          1. re: foodinspace

                            I like Bily Kun also but never go when the DJs are playing.
                            You can try Le Verre Bouteille on Mont Royal near de Lorimier they have good selection of beer... not a dive... but they often have live music in the evenings but probably not Thurs thru Sat.

                            1. re: chickenbruiser

                              just search UDM +STUDENT +BAR
                              and you will find 20 billy kuns

                            2. re: foodinspace

                              I understand that it can be tough to find space in reservoir as they don't really seem big on standing room (at least in the downstairs section). But I personally find that Bily Kun, while a great bar, is a terrible place for a big group. Its tough to get tables at all, even tougher to find a bunch together (except that back platform), and I find it impossible to talk thanks to music that I personally find way too loud. I'm starting to sound like my father, but seriously I always feel uncomfortable when I'm at BK with more than a few people, and if I wanted to catch up with friends I would certainly look elsewhere. As a grad student, I personally find Reservoir and Helm to be even more casual than Bily Kun, and they also have good food for the hungry.

                              But yes, Miami are Copa are both still options, though the food at Copa has certainly gone way down hill.

                              1. re: Fintastic

                                i long for the 2002 incarnation of miami

                            3. re: chickenbruiser

                              Miami is Bar Montenegro, but everyone still calls it Miami.

                              I think (the new) Copa is a good fit for this, lots of seating, the decor's much better than before, and it has some nibblies. And pool and tvs to kill time if there's gaps between waves of ppl. Or La Cabane if you still want people to be able to eat dinner.

                              1. re: Shattered

                                Thank you, Shattered. I haven't been to the Copa in nearly a year. Is it really that different from before? Do they still have the delicious Indian food? Thanks.

                                1. re: foodinspace

                                  Nah, afraid not. Mostly pub grub, although they have calamari. It's good and portions are generous. The overall vibe of the place is way better, imo.