A month or so ago I learned there’d be yet another new bar joining an ever growing list of happening hotspots on Notre Dame West. It seems like there’s no end to the number of new places opening in the swankier-by-the-minute and ever densifying, Griffintown. When I learned a couple of weeks ago that Rufus Rockhead was finally open I curiously popped in to check the place out. In a city where trends catch and spread like wildfire, it’s easy to hook onto the latest and hottest décor and copy it until we kill it. Finding something new that catches your eye in a way you’ve never seen before is not always easy to come by. (The once unique, natural wood covered, cabin style eateries which were sparse two years ago can now be found all over the city and in some cases poorly executed). When I walked into Rufus, first met by the linear mural (above) on the street facing windows, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh the surroundings felt. Tight white ropes not only add a nautical element to the bar but they are also used to support a beautiful structure that evokes waves that fly overhead letting slivers and beams of light break through. The bar itself is a labyrinth of nooks and crannies where we can sit and have more intimate drinks and food. Clear plastic separator drapes that divide the space without cutting up the scenery and creatively positioned seating also add to the uniqueness of the bar.
While I was seated at the bar, sipping a beer with a friend the owner, Jeff Stinco (who also happens to be lead guitarist for Simple Plan and owner of the very popular Mangiafoco in Old Montreal) came over and we chatted very briefly about how this particular project has taken over two years to come to fruition. As far as I’m concerned it was two years well spent.
Cool décor aside, the real backbone of a bar is always the staff and their mix-ability. On my first visit I only tried their beer but I’ve headed back since and the bar staff really know their stuff. The beer is good and cold and the drinks are mixed to perfection. They feature a concentrated food menu that boasts some pretty inventive snack choices. I tried their fried chicken and potato salad. Both were delicious.
Rufus Rockhead had their official opening this past weekend and as usual Montrealers came out in droves to see what the place was all about. The atmosphere seemed fun and light as people explored the cleverly carved out maze of a bar. Overall Rufus will easily become the hotspot for the coming months. It has all the elements that make for a Montreal hotspot. Good drinks, great atmosphere and service. Being owned by a rock star can’t be a bad thing either!