Saturday, July 21, 2018Light Snow -5°C

Giant Steps away from the usual: Snack'n Blues

Posted by Margot / March 7, 2011

Montreal snack and blues music jazz CBCWe here at Midnight Poutine are always going on about live shows in Montreal - Il Motore this, Casa del Popolo that. "Hey! What are you doing tonight? Seeing Land of Talk?" we ask. Or we might tell you there're five great shows in one night, and you must go to them all. Of course, we're fans of the live music for good reason; there's nothing quite like feeling your eardrums burning with that heavy bass sound, and no better way to hear your favourite band's new album. But what about all those musical greats that we'll never get to see? No, I'm not talking about MJ or the Beatles. I'm talking about perhaps one of the greatest - and often overlooked - genres of music: the blues.

When I was 16, I decided I was going to be a jazz pianist. I bought a couple Thelonious Monk albums and had a neighbourhood piano teacher to show me everything he knew. It goes without saying that I never amounted to much in terms of piano greatness; you would've heard me on Saturday Night Blues by now otherwise.

Boy, was I singing the blues when I didn't rondo like my man Dave...

So I'm not a jazz pianist, nor do I go see live shows that often, but this is where Snack'n Blues comes in. Just north of Fairmount on St-Laurent, Snack'n Blues is the perfect venue for having a drink and a pretzel and listening to some good tunes. They've got a wall of albums (vinyl, CDs, tapes perhaps?) and a powerful sound system to show it all off. They're not trying to be anything kitschy or too-cool-for-school. Au contraire, it was emphasized to me by the owner that they're a pretty low-key bunch. Sure they have a freaky clown figure hanging from the ceiling, but I'd say it's as regular a place as the next. And their intimate space makes for good live shows once in a while.

Montreal music snack blues John Coltrane jazz

I won't be so daft as to overlook the first (and possibly best) part of the bar's name. They've got the "snack" part down to a science: in short, this place puts out. It puts out the salty (chips, pretzels, cheezies), the sweet (chocolate and clementines), and has a good assortment of drinks on tap and behind the counter (see the Wall of Fame above).

Some people have called this place a "dive," but I would argue that Snack'n Blues is far from. A place where I have more than three choices when ordering a gin and tonic is not a dive. A place that serves bottomless bowls of Cadbury Mini-Eggs is not a dive. A place that appreciates a timeless and classic piece of music and shares it in an unassuming and unpretentious place is not a dive. It's a place called Snack n' Blues.

Montreal music Snack'n Blues jazz CBC March snowstorm
Do me a favour and forget I told you about
Snack'n Blues
5260, boul. St-Laurent
I like having a table near the Doritos



Sarah / March 9, 2011 at 10:49 am
shhhhhhhh it's a secret... you're not supposed to talk about it...
Adam kagan / March 24, 2011 at 02:26 pm
Agreed ; ) - what a lil' gem with their sour keys at the door.
Laurita / February 5, 2015 at 07:22 am
Appreciating the time and effort you put into your blog and delaited information you present. It's good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated rehashed material. Great read! I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Toronto