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A New Bar In Montreal's Little Italy Has A Negroni Vending Machine & People Are Freaking Out

This Little Italy spot has lots of classics, plus drinks that taste like Italian dishes.

The bartender from Bar Bello in Montreal pouring a drink into a glass.

The bartender from Bar Bello in Montreal pouring a drink into a glass.

@matt_baker | Instagram

It’s a project in Little Italy that’s been two years in the making: The recently opened Bar Bello in Montreal’s Little Italy neighbourhood is the latest project from the minds behind the Old Montreal bars Coldroom, El Pequeño, and Bisou Bisou with a big twist: a working vending machine for negronis.

For $16, you can get a glass with ice and a token to use on an old refurbished Coca-Cola machine that serves for one of their eight Negroni variations: Strawberry, chocolate, white, coffee, the Mela d'Alba (made with apple brandy), Rosita (made with tequila), the Cardinale (made with dry vermouth), and the Boulevardier.

“It’s all the cousins of the negroni (in the machine),” says co-owner Kevin Demers. “The older clientele are freaking out over the idea and it’s a great way to introduce people to Negronis and the ways you can play on the classic to people who haven’t tried them before.”

You have to consume the drinks on site inside or on their terrasse, and it’s a limited run every day of eight bottles of each flavour, so they could run out when you visit. If they do run out, you can still order a classic Negroni at the bar — or one of their other drinks.

A lot of the cocktails on the menu are variations of the flavours of Italy. There’s the Ossola Sour with bourbon, brown butter, sage, lemon and egg white that mimics the taste of a bowl of gnocchi, a lowball drink that tastes like you’re eating a tiramisu, or a caprese martini with vodka, dry vermouth, tomato water and whey to match the taste of the classic Italian salad.

You’ve also got classics like spritzes, sbagliatos, espresso martinis and more.

Just as the owners’ other bars — again, Coldroom, El Pequeño, and Bisou Bisou — act as introductions to their respective cocktail concepts of creative mixology, international rums and Cuban cocktail culture, and Mediterranean aperitifs, Bar Bello is an Italian aperitif bar fashioned after the places you’d find in Italy mixed with an Italian social club you might find in New York City.

This Montreal version that first opened at the beginning of August is true to form: it’s a drinking establishment designed for people to drop in for a drink and whet their appetite for dinner later.

While Bar Bello does offer bites like olives and nuts, marinated sott'olio (“under the oil”) vegetables, cheese, charcuterie and sandwiches like the Italian tramezzini finger sandwiches, it’s definitely a cocktail-forward spot.

“I’ve felt good about all my projects, but something feels really special about this one. It’s a little closer to the heart,” Demers says.

The project is a thank-you to his business partner Beniamino Bello, who backed Demers back when he launched Coldroom, and for whom the project is named.

Bar Bello

Where: 6740 Boul. St Laurent

When: Wednesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Bar Bello’s website

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