L'Inspecteur Épingle: Raise Your Pint, Follow the Puck
Located right in the middle of Plateau Mont Royal, L'Inspecteur Épingle is a bar where a variety of characters congregate to drink affordably priced pints of beer. Patrons are often perched on bar stools or lounging at corner tables beneath plasma TV screens, either listening to or ignoring the game and raising their voices just above the clinking of glasses and background music...
L'Inspecteur Épingle is different from other bars mainly because even though it's in the Plateau, it doesn't have the fake hipness of the nearby bars. The colorful clientele makes it inviting; one often sees older men in ancient coats sitting comfortably at a table alone without looking suspicious, while a young crowd's chatter blends with the sounds in the place.
Also a gallery, L'Inspecteur Épingle features artwork on the walls. Local painters, photographers and collage artists use the attractive exhibition space, whose very large walls allow for pieces in large format. You might be surprised and discover interesting work here, as some of the artists are quite good.
Same goes for the music. Every week there are at least a couple of good local bands, ranging from indie rock to electronica, hip-hop to chanson. Sometimes a guest DJ will blend the obscure tavern atmosphere with that of a good live venue. The key here is local music. Many of us know that Montreal is home to some of the biggest indie bands right now and it's guaranteed there's a lot more from where they came from.
Another important aspect of this true Montreal tavern is hockey night. It was here, in L'Inspecteur Épingle's dusky atmosphere, that I found myself cheering a sport that has been in the background for most of my life. Few experiences will draw you nearer to this sport and cultural phenomenon than watching the Canadiens fight for a place in the playoffs. Even if you are not a fan, or like me, you don't understand the game and even have difficulty following the puck, watching hockey at L'Inspecteur Épingle has been one of the defining occasions in which I have felt a good dose of authentic Montreal spirit.
So next time you're walking down Duluth Street near St-Hubert, check out L'Inspecteur Épingle. Chances are you'll be charmed by the good music, beer and artwork. You may even become a hockey fan!