Vices & Versa
Taps: 36 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 21 | Show All Ratings:
4.14/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Managed to head down here after an early Friday evening spent at the Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel. Its a fair walk, probably 15 minutes or so, maybe more, but thankfully BA Erica had it all neatly marked out and clearly highlighted on her CAA Street Map of Montreal. Heading West down Boulevard St-Laurent and into the Little Italy district youll soon come across Vices Et Versa on your right hand side.
The street level exterior is clad in a pale looking pinewood cladding and easily spotted. The entrance is to the left of three large paned stainless framed windows, which may in fact even be sliding patio door style windows; these do well to reveal the guts of the interior. A pole hanging wooden sign near the entrance, which is shadowed by a small balcony, declares Vices & Versa Bistro Du Terroir, below this a second separate chain hanging sign advertises En collaboration avec La Barberie, a local Brewery whom I came across earlier in the day at the 2006 Mondiale de la Biere. An old style lean too chalkboard sits uncomfortably by the entrance and advertises the food specials.
Up a brace of low slung concrete steps you enter the main front room from the front left hand corner. Inside, you are greeted with a colorful interior which exhibits a cosmopolitan décor. Wooden clad walls are stained close to the bar area but to the left and right mustard, pastel lime green and dark sky blues are used to great effect to color the atmosphere. A tin effect ceiling is painted in a dark copper color sponged with random green paint tinges to produce the effect of an aged ceiling. Paintings and some very arty framed Photos line the walls; it all conspires to reinforce the impression that this was indeed a Café of sorts prior to its recent incarnation as a Bistro du Terroir. The back wall is bare brick and is decorated with steel fittings; here there is a back door that leads out to an open terrace area that looks great for those long hot summer nights.
The bar area is set in the back far right hand corner, of dark wood construction; the chest high bar-top is higher than usual it seems. Set in front of a blue painted wooden wall cladding and some dark wooden cupboards filled with bottles, liquors and glasses, the whole bar area is festooned with plants on the bar, and hanging in wire chrome balls over it. Five chrome fonts in total; four each sport three taps with one that just has two - delivering up to fourteen draft beers at any one time. The Barbarie taps all have a similar design, made from wood they have a phallic shape with a profiled shank which sits underneath a rather bulbous head which sprouts two curved horns, it is supposed to be a Viking style helmet affair, couldnt help thinking that it looked like a different type of helmet I must say.
On my visit the brews were all neatly listed on a La Barberie sponsored Chalkboard:
1. Rousse Bitter
2. IPA (Alchimiste)
3. Cuivrée Forter
5. Imperial Stout
7. Rousse Forter Aux Fruits
8. Pale Ale Lime & Gingembre
9. Cidre de Pomme
10. Mistigris Blonde
11. Pale Ale Lime Framboise
12. Claymore Scotch
13. Noire à LAvoine
14. Bière de Blé à LAbricot
Prices were CAN$4.50 for a V or CAN$6.00 for a P (Pint?), or less. I tried the Cuivrée Forter and a Pint of the Claymore Scotch, both were very tasty brews. Being a fan of Magic Hat #9 I think Erica tried the Apricot brew, cant recall stealing a taste of that one though.
The food menu was mostly in French but the waiter explained it all perfectly for the ignorant English speaking tourists; lots of Cheeses, Pizzas, Sandwiches and Ice Cream & Desserts, all made with local produce it seems. As Erica and I had both already eaten, we just wanted some nibbles with the beer, so opted for the Pretzels with a decent enough locally produced French mustard. Rest of the Menu looked interesting though; distinctly tilted towards quality rather than quantity but others food platters looked very interesting.
Service was excellent, the chap that served us was more than happy to translate the French Menu without any rolling eyes or condescending attitude, far from it in fact. Constant reviewing of the liquid line in our glasses as he passed us serving others meant that we were never wanting for beer. The second order was followed by an interesting chat about La Barberie and the Mondiale; if memory serves me right our Waiter told us that he was serving at the La Barberie stand over the weekend.
This is about as close as you get to a La Barberie Brewery Tap it seems. A very cool place to hang out, far from the madding crowd, as Hardy would have said. For me the VEV was the second highlight of my first visit to Montreal after Dieu Du Ciel, maybe Im getting old but I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed quality atmosphere, the Barberie brews and the laid back quiet downtime in here. A quality establishment, if you get to the Dieu Du Ciel, take the walk West, its well worth it.
Last Visit: Friday 2nd June, 2006.
06-08-2006 06:52:52 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.4/5 rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Last, but certainly not least, stop of the Mondial 2008 pub crawl.
Let me tell you...this place might be a bit out of the way but who cares...it ROCKS! How can a beer geek not get excited about 28 taps plus a hand pull? Oh, and by the way, EVERYTHING on was from Quebec...talk about keeping it local and fresh!
Nice decor with a smattering of wooden tables and a small bar. Too bad it was cool and raining as the small biergarten area looked very inviting...another visit!
Our server was polite and efficient. He was more than happy to explain some of the beers to us but we had our local buddy Tico with us to act as interpreter.
Not only do they keep it local beer wise but food too. We again only grazed a bit having a nice plate of nachos and a cheese plate...both of which were very nice.
I can't tell you how impressed I was with this place! Between here and DDC a Montrealer has about all they could want! I am very much looking forward to a return visit to this establishment.
07-06-2008 07:27:58 | More by Deuane
4.25/5 rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Came here last Saturday night for beer & supper.
Situated on the border of Little Italy in Mtl.
Arrived at approx. 5:45PM and only a handfull of people so far.
Very ecclectic setting, non-assuming, kind of a beatnik vibe to it. Garage band music alternated with 80's music and some alternative from 90's & today. Very nice indeed but who am i kidding, i came for the 29 beers on tap.
It took a while for the waitress to come but she was alone, so we understood.
The beer menu was slightly different than advertised on their website but most of the ones i wanted were there. I have never had cask beer yet so, of course, the Colonial IPA on cask is what i wanted but, bummer!, none left. So i ordered a Hoppy from Brasseur & Freres and my wife ordered a Stout au Cafe from La Barberie.
The food was very good, i had some riopelle with some pear & ginger jam as an entree & a bavarian maple-flavored sandwich. My wife had some goat cheese on crouton with a honey mustard sandwich.
The only thing missing is some dessert, maybe some chocolate would be cool.
We finished with their carrousel sampler of beers. To order this, the beers you ordered must be sequential (we ordered taps 16 to 21). Highlights of beers we tried were the Eisbock, Stout & Bock from Alchimiste. Very cool way to try beers to see if they're for you or not.
All in all, a very pleasant experience, would love to come back to relax, drink a beer & watch the action on the boulevard.
03-31-2008 17:46:15 | More by papat444
4.05/5 rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
Atmosphere: Quite a long ways away from the Downtown/Plateau area, the only way to get here is to take the St-Laurent street bus northbound and get off at St-Zotique street. Vices et Versa is half a block away from Montreal's little Italy, and that seems to reflect on the décor inside. You can tell this used to be a quaint little Italian café. Nice wooden bar, local artists exposing on the walls, terrasse in the back that I haven't had the chance to visit yet but looked nice from the quick glances I took.
Selection: This Beer bar seems to be the Montreal outlet for Québec city Micro-COOP la Barberie. They have 5-7 Barberie Beers on tap. They also have quite a few non-Beer products, like ciders, honeywine, booze made with maple syrup, all Québec-made and most quite excellent, if you have to bring along someone crazy enough not to like Beer. Vices et Versa is a "Bistro du terroir", which basically expresses their commitment to Québec-made products. I wasn't able to convince my tasting partner to try any of the food, so I can't give it a score. However, I did check out the menu and everything looks great. Craft-made cheezes, desserts, etc. Next time I'll make sure not to eat before I go.
Service: Great, the waitress was friendly, curteous and knew her menu well. She tasted everything they had, and it showed. It didn't take her long to pin me down as a Beer freak and took the time to go into more details about what they had on tap, and even offered me a free sample. The place wasn't packed, so service was fast.
Quality: The Beers offered are mostly "crossover" type beers, with one or two more complex offerings. During my last visit I sampled a molasses Brown ale that had subtle hints of molasses and malty flavour, not too sweet and low in ABV (4.5% the website says). Perfect to break the old stereotype that brown ales taste too strong, but I personnally like my brews with a little more oomph.
This is a nice quiet place to hang low, bring a date, and maybe initiate someone into the wonderful world of craft Beer.
I finally tried the food...wow, I had the large cheeze/paté plate and it was suberb, served with nuts, onion jam and hot fresh bread. And the kicker? A chocolate truffle, that I matched up with the Imperial Stout they had on tap. A match made in heaven.
05-10-2004 22:02:58 | More by Goldorak
British Indian Ocean Territory
4.66/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Awesome bar on the edges of Little Italy. Arrived right at opening, and ran into the owner of Hopfenstark, Frederick delivering his kegs. Despite being exhausted he took the time to talk beer - really wish we could've took him up on his invite to the brewery. Next time. Really wish we had places like this at home. A must visit.
Hopfenstark LouLou Porter
TM Weizen Bock
Hopfenstark Post Colonial IPA
Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
Brassiere ? Blanche Gingembre
TM Sticke Alt - one of the most unappealing beer I've had in a long time.
04-10-2010 03:02:24 | More by CBA
4.15/5 rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
Stopped in while in town for Mondial. My second time here, and as a visitor to Montreal I love this place. It's in more of a residential neighborhood, and not in Montreal's 'tourist zone.' Just a short walk from the Beaubien Metro stop. FYI - they don't open until 3pm.
The atmosphere feels like a pub to me (not the cafe feel the Montreal native observed), including the wooden bar, tin ceiling, huge chalkboards listing beers, and the tree-covered beer garden/patio in the back.
During our two trips here, my wife and I have ordered many different beers without issue, so quality is good. Service has always been helpful, despite the fact that we don't speak French.
Selection was awesome for a visitor to Quebec, with 33 Quebec beers up when we were there. Great variety of styles as well.
Food is only OK. It tasted good but selection was limited: small pita bread pizzas, sausages, cheese samplers.
06-11-2010 21:03:12 | More by Philby11111
4.66/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
Vices et Versa is the best beer bar(it's not a brewpub) in Montreal - period. It features 30+ draught beers from Quebec craft breweries that are unknown to most Americans or even to Canadians from other provinces. They aren't distributed outside Quebec but are as good as any I've had in North America. How often does one get to explore a beer list containing 33 unfamiliar craft beers?
The interior is appealing with exposed brick walls and a really nice terrasse in back during good weather. The place is mellow, relaxed, and doesn't feel like a typical bar. It's location is a good way from downtown and a little north of the Mile End area, but can be easily reached by the frequent St. Laurent bus. This keeps it free from tourists.
They only serve light snacks but there are plenty of restaurants nearby(it's on the edge of Montreal's little Italy). I've been here many times and have always found the staff friendly and helpful with no hint of the snobbiness a previous review referred to.
I highly recommend making the effort to get to Vices et Versa and spending a lengthy session. It can easily be combined with a trip to Dieu du Ciel and I often come here when I tire of the large crowds that flock to that brewpub.
09-14-2011 16:54:47 | More by Tut
4.36/5 rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
a real treat to go into a place not being from the area and seeing 33 taps with nothing you've ever had on them. most were really fantastic and extremely local. almost every from quebec breweries or brewpubs. the service was quite nice. samples were pricey but they didn't want you having something you didn't like. i told them i was from out of the area and didn't know where to begin and they started pouring sips without question. the sampler was 11 buck i believe... 6 five oz glasses. a tad pricey like i said but it seems to be the consensus for the better beer bars around montreal. there was a back patio with tons of sitting and a nice cool night so that was a must. if you don't know anything about the montreal or quebec beer culture this is a great place to start. the website is quite helpful too.
i highly recommend anything by hopfenstark.
oh... also... don't come here for bottles. they had 4 i think. so that was a minus.
the pretzels were expensive to say the least but they came with a good djion mustard.
08-16-2009 18:28:04 | More by rtepiak
4.2/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Very nice atmosphere. Not to bright, not to loud. The patio was full when we arrived but we eventually got a seat outside. They had around 25 different taps going. Nothing on cask when I was there (not a big deal). I had a couple of pints (a few IPA's and stouts), they were all poured well and the service was quick. We did not order anything to eat but the menu did look interesting (mostly pub stuff with a little flare). Not to expensive, I would definitely recommend this place if you are visiting Montreal.
08-26-2008 00:53:58 | More by irishkyle21
4.5/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
If your not from Montreal like myself, this is the place to go. There are 33 local Quebec beers on tap, with one cask & two house beers. I live one and a half hours south in Burlington, VT and have never had any of the 33 beers. Cool coffee house feel, dark wood, good lighting. You have to pay as you go, no tabs, not a big deal but a bit of an unneccessary nuisance. Service is ok, not overly friendly but efficent. Didn't order any food but sat near the kitchen and it smelled real good. Outdoor patio section was open but it was a little to cold for me. Will be making a trip back in the summer to enjoy that patio and some new Quebec beers.
03-17-2009 02:58:16 | More by scottg
Vices & Versa in Montréal, QC, Canada
95 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.