Loic - wine bar report (Montreal)

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

I had a friend celebrating his birthday at Loic in Saint-Henri the other week and I thought I’d give you my impressions, even if they are a bit late.

Loic is among the cornucopia of new bars opening in Saint-Henri. This one has opened in a former bank on Notre-Dame (the same place was borded up for what seemed forever). It is a full service bar but what interested me is what looked like a well curated wine list.

Loic by night is very nice. Open space, lots of wood, not too lit, I felt like I was in a basement, similar to how I feel when I go to club chasse et pêche. The music is not too loud although I would have lowered it by a small notch (lets say if it was on 5 I would have put it on 4). I didn’t recognise it and I just filed it as “nondescript indie hipster mainstream”. It can get pretty crowded but not too stifling. The crowd is mostly composed of hipsters. No, seriously, there are a ton of them. A true festival of plaid, beard and tuques (why do you keep your tuque inside? Is it the same tuque they wear outside or do they bring along a special one for interior uses?).

The service we had was incredible, especially from a woman called Rebecca that was among one of the most authentic and enthusiastic sommelier I’ve had the chance to meet since I went at Pullman (my current gold standard). She was truly a joy to talk to and a lot of people in my group shared my opinion. She advised us if there were bottles that were available by the glass and that weren’t on the menu, had a definite opinion on what she enjoyed and not, was on top of her game on the wines she had on the list and was a great attentive sounding board to our progressively incoherent alcohol fuelled ramblings.

I started by ordering a still cider from Britanny I believe. I was informed that there were two bottles of the same producer available: one sweeter and one dryer. I preferred the dryer cider because it was better balanced and had a cleaner finish. I also tried a wine from Alsace I was surprised to enjoy (I typically do not like alsace wines because they are too perfumy for my taste). There was an ok muscadet. I tried a FANTASTIC procecco that was redolent of pear which, for the life of me I cannot remember. They also had orange wine. Ever heard of orange wine? Us neither so we ordered a bottle. It was… an interesting experience. Made me think of when I tried greek retsina or vin gris. We did not enjoy it but we were happy we tried it. It wasn’t badly made, just different and not to our taste. If I try hard enough I think I remember a bit of bitterness I wasn’t a fan of (I think I remember talking about citrus pith). It had definite character, wasn’t too powerful but present and kinda went sideways for most of us.

The people who put the wine list together are to be commended. Most of the selection was interesting, very good and well priced. Wine is often a question of individual opinion and its nice to know there are people with similar taste as mine putting together lists to sell. If I understand correctly the wine list changes pretty regularly and, unfortunately, you don’t have a prayer in hell of finding the bottles you like at the SAQ (which, to be honest, is pretty typical).

Its nice to have a wine bar I can walk to. Its not close but its walkable. I have to admit I never go to Vin Papillon because I always feel I have to eat a bite when I go there and I honestly just want to try diverse wines by the glass without eating. Pullman is my favorite in this category with their degustation trio at 20$ (I can just sit there and drink one trio after the other and the last time I finished all the trio on the menu they just made new trio on the fly!) I tried Buvette Chez Simone but the music was just too loud for me.

There is a music venue on the second floor but I didn’t hear it and I didn’t go look. They have a pretty good selection of beer and cocktail if you don’t enjoy wine. They also had food but I didn’t try it (I like to have a different place to eat and drink… don’t know why its just a quirk).

Overall I loved my time there and I am really looking forward to going back!

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