Mile End gets a British pub

We checked out Burgundy Lion’s new satellite bar and restaurant on St-Viateur.

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On the southwest corner of St-Viateur & Clark, where Café Ciociaro used to stand, Pub Bishop & Bagg quietly opened its doors on Friday night. We stopped in on Saturday, along with only a handful of other patrons. According to the barman, the weekend’s “soft opening” was meant to allow the staff to become accustomed to the new space, and to work out any potential kinks. After taking Sunday off, the bar will be open for lunch today, through the week and into next weekend, when a grander opening will take place — no special event, but a little more fanfare.

Bishop & Bagg is a satellite of Burgundy Lion, the six-year-old Little Burgundy pub where all things English rule: regular soccer screenings, an annual St. George’s Day event, loads of U.K. brew, classic pub food and even its own footie-style scarf.

Inside Pub Bishop & Bagg
Inside Pub Bishop & Bagg

Anglophilia is less evident at Bishop & Bagg, despite its very British-pub-style name. (Why they chose two random, if alliterative, Montreal streets that don’t intersect is unknown.) A few English items dot the menu, but there’s no fish and chips (a relief for the nearby Comptoir 21, I imagine) and little of what you’d expect from a pub menu— no fries, no burgers, no steaks, no roasts and no breakfast (at least for the moment) . Instead, the mains include smoked and grilled fish, roasted and crispy pork, pasta and, as with Burgundy Lion and other British pubs (like Ye Olde Orchard), culinary nods to England’s large East and West Indian populations (lamb kebabs and jerk hen).

Luckily for those who just want to drink, this new spot has a bar licence, so buying food isn’t mandatory. Along with Burgundy Lion’s own ale and the U.K. imports you’d expect, local brews are well represented, and there’s a decent wine list and over half a dozen fancy cocktails. We tried the Boulevardier (an Old Fashioned/Negroni hybrid) and a dirty martini — both were practically perfect.

So will Bishop & Bagg be a hit with the hipsters, or supply a demand that’s not met by Waverly or Cagibi? We’ll soon see. For now, it’s nice to have another food & drink option on the St-Viateur strip, and to see one less empty storefront in this town. Cheers to that. ■

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