Photo cred - Jim Wilson for the NY TImes
Whiskey has reached new levels of popularity in the last few years, and the trend has definitely been felt in Montreal. Maybe its the inherent manliness to drinking a glass of scotch, or the hipster cred to knowing things about whiskey, but whatever the reason, Montreal digs scotch, bourbon, rye, or whatever type of whiskey as much as any other city. But we do fall short in one respect to whiskey: Montreal doesn't have a whiskey library.
A whiskey library is the term now given to a new type of watering hole dubbed "ladder bars," pretty much because you need a ladder to reach the entirety of its whiskey collection. Possessing anywhere from 850 to over 2, 000 bottles of whiskey, these bars have been popping up across the U.S., having become a trend in themselves.
A few notable whiskey libraries are Canon in Seattle, which boasts a 3, 500-liquor wall, with 2/3's being whiskey. Then there's Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C. that has a whiskey collection of 1, 800 bottles. More exist in San Francisco, New York, and Portland, all of which have an in-house ladder to have full access to their respective whiskey library collections, which took decades to build in some establishments.
Montreal may have a whiskey festival, and its own whiskey bars, but neither are quite as impressive as the new-found American trend of whiskey libraries. Whisky Café,, a well-known Montreal establishment for all things whiskey-related, only has about 150 whiskeys available, which is barely a fraction of any whiskey library collection.
We're not trying to make Montreal look bad, we're just saying what you've all been thinking ever since you saw the image of a bartender on a ladder reaching for a bottle of scotch: Montreal needs a whiskey library. A new library needs to set up shop in the city, or an existing bar should expand their whiskey collection, but either way, we want ladders in our whiskey bars, sooner rather than later.
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte