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El Pequeño Bar
Montreal, QC
El Pequeño Bar Montreal, QC
401a, rue Saint-Vincent  |
By Kaitlin FontanaPhotos by Andrew Querner

How fun can a teeny, nine-person watering hole down a tourist-trappy back alley in Old Montreal really be? Plenty fun, it seems, for my friend and I are deep in our cups at El Pequeño Bar, many others having come and gone. Admittedly, our bartender, Derek, is a bit weary of us (the first time I snapped his suspender it was invited; the next three times, well…), but his little Cuban bar makes us feel like utter comrades. We try all four of the classic, rum-based cocktails on offer – mojito, daiquiri, rum and Coke, and El Presidente – and each one is a workaday drink done just right. We watch Derek sling approximately 4,000 mojitos (the clear favourite) and press classic Cubano sandwiches (the only food available) on the back grill. Brought to you by the same folks as the speakeasy Coldroom, located beneath us, El Pequeño telegraphs communist Cuba with its dark cherry-wood finishes and leafy palms. There’s not much flashy bar work here, and it’s not needed. This is precisely the kind of place to stop by for a few on the way home, to dinner or – in our case – to the next bar.