The baptism of Le P’tit Sacristain
The snow is slowly melting, and little by little the days are getting longer and spring is coming. After the long months of winter, the time has come to unveil the results of many hours of hard work: the launch of our new bar – Le P’tit Sacristain!
Discover Version 2.0: more ergonomic, warmer and with more purpose!
History of the bar
The Sanctuary Bar was born when Le Monastère moved into the St. Jax Center in 2019. This was our way of providing this important element of our evenings without relying on the rooms that hosted us. It was originally imagined and built by a group of friends of the organization who volunteered to support us. It has always been a welcoming place for the public and the artists during the show, allowing for animated exchanges while enjoying a cold beer or a cocktail of local spirits.
Since the beginning, partnerships were developed with local producers in order to provide quality products. Its little brother, a second bar of the same type, was built in 2020 during the pandemic. It is located in the basement of the building, a place called l‘annexe 1439. This is a setting for the discovery of the open stage as well as many other artistic evenings. Finally, it was during the last summer season that a third version of our bar found a place under the sun. Thanks to Kathy, our project coordinator at the time, the newest bar was established outside in Le Jardin du Monastère.
A productive hibernation, synonymous with revival
After 4 years of loyal service, the time had come to consider the future. We have taken the opportunity to innovate and improve in order to better serve diverse and varied missions. The bar is also a storage space and needs to be able to move a thousand times a year, as the Saturday cabarets give way to the Sunday mass… And so, the time had come to finally baptize it!
The primary objective was to change the configuration of the bar so that it would be wider and facilitate more engagement with the public. This expansion will also allow more space for each employee, offering more freedom and ease of movement. The materials have also been redesigned to be more suited for the daily life of a bar and the hazards of spilling glasses. Most of the bar is made of stainless steel, but the front is made of wood reused from the old church pews, which were waiting to be used in the basement crypt. For this, Kathy teamed up with Montreal cabinetmaker Jeremy Caron to customize a design that is true to our identity.
The raw materials and local knowledge
In order to quench the thirst of our guests, we rely on the local knowledge of Quebec wine and spirit producers. We have established long-lasting and trustworthy partnerships with local companies from Montreal, its outskirts, and in the province. Our team is proud to count CIRKA Distilleries, Domaine du P’tit Bonheur and the Espace Public brewery among its members. For some of them, this represents four years of partnership!
This desire for proximity goes even further. Last summer, Kathy took advantage of the sunshine in the bar and control room containers to plant an aromatic herb garden. Lemon thyme, lavender, borage, sage, mint and lemon balm were lovingly nurtured throughout the summer. After harvesting and drying them for several weeks, we now use them in our cocktails. And yes, this includes the bitter tonic in your cocktail ”La Vieille Branche” – it was a little lemon thyme shoot in a former life!
This year, we wish to extend our vision. We will plant edible fruits, so that we can use them for drinks and snacks. Have you ever tasted rhubarb churros? You’ll have to visit us at Le Monastère’s outdoor cabarets!
Cocktails with a purpose
Each cabaret has its own dedicated signature cocktail to highlight the products of our partners. Each one is the result of a long reflection of the balance of flavours, the choice of quality local ingredients and which causes to support. Our cocktails are created by Kathy, and sometimes in collaboration with our partners, such as Gizmo (a mixologist for several years in Montreal) from the Cirka Distillery. For the March Circus Cabaret, Kathy will offer an old fashioned with sea buckthorn pulp. The whisky comes from the Montreal Distillery in Rosemont, and the sea buckthorn berries come from the Ferme d’Achille in Saint-Ubalde, Quebec, and the bitters are homemade. This beautiful blend is called “La Vieille Branche” to support the fight against ageism and age discrimination. This is not the only cocktail available – we also offer “Abstinence” made with absinthe, honey and lemon balm leaves, to denounce the law Roe v. Wade against abortion (June 2022).
A circus team even behind the counter
But who is serving you these delicious drinks with a smile all night long? The entire staff working at the bar comes from the circus community or from the arts scene in Montreal. Some of them are also visiting artists or artists from other companies who have always supported us.
The name is...
Without a name until now, “P’tit Sacristain” would be nothing without Kathy, its creator and manager. Having worked at Le Monastère’s bar since its inception, she was ready to take on the role of bar manager and grow this project. A multidisciplinary artist, specializing in dance and contortion, Kathy has a very creative and curious mind. She brings deep and committed thought to every project at the bar to make it an enjoyable and engaging experience for the public. Like a sexton preparing for mass before the arrival of the flock, she and her team set up the bar religiously so that you can enjoy drinks during the cabaret and throughout the night.
Long live the bar!
After a complete makeover, the P’tit Sacristain has solid ambitions for its future. The goal is to continue the process of becoming more eco-conscious and to be zero waste by 2024. Indeed, it is a challenge for inventory management, with the year alternating between busy and calm periods with various circus cabarets and special events. However, good habits are already in place: used fruits and vegetables are composted, eco-cups are used, and disposable napkins and paper receipts are non-existent.
In addition, cans are recovered and donated to Cirque Hors Piste, which is a Montreal-based organization dedicated to social circus intervention. Their team offers marginalized and at risk youth an alternative path to personal development. This support allows them to move forward and blossom as citizens and to contribute to the collective well-being of their community. In short: a well thought out bar!
Would you like to join us for a toast?
March 23, 2023
Photos credits: Caroline Thibault