I visited Montreal, Quebec, Canada with my parents during Thanksgiving break. In Montreal, we had dinner in a place called Hurley’s Irish Pub, located on Crescent Street. To start, pubs have a rather different culture in Canada where they are often social zones more than they are places to just drink and get drunk. They are often locations for parties or socials or just hanging out between friends. Additionally, because alcohol age limit in Montreal is 18, the rest of Canada is 19. there is less of a formalized, strict structure in Canadian drinking culture. Established in 1993, Hurley’s is located in the middle of a rather busy commercial center and is also close to various hotels, which brings a lot of clientele into the pubs. Advertised for its “traditional music” as well as its fare and choices available for drinks, Hurley is rather popular with locals and also highly ranked among tourist websites. It is also part of the Crescent Street Merchants Association, established in 1998, an association of merchants on Crescent Street between Sherbrooke and Sainte-Catherine. This association involves stores, restaurants, hotels, clubs, and bars. Their intent is to “ensure safety, cleanliness, promotion, and general improvement of the street for the purpose of ensuring the quality of their image, their services, and the execution of their events” (Crescent Montreal website).
I found Hurley’s location to be interesting because, compared to the streets I had just walked through, it was slightly more shadowed and locally based. Sherbrooke had been dominated by towering hotel structures, including the Ritz Carlton, while Sainte-Catherine was an incredibly commercial street with stores from international brands such as Louis Vuitton and North Face as well as more local areas like Paris Crepes. However, Hurley’s was a local, though widely popular, store which had more local stores situated across from it. Considering the surroundings, I found the merchant association for Crescent Street making a lot of sense considering that the area had a significant number of local shops, especially compared to Sainte-Catherine, its neighbor, which is dominated by recognizable, international brands.
The inside of the store reflected mainly locals with a couple of tourists stopping by for dinner. I visited the shop at a slightly earlier time and there was also a large hockey game featured that day which could have contributed to the high number of locals at the pub. I think that there was a bit of mixed socioeconomic status due to the fact that it surroundings and locations made it available to tourists who would spend money, shoppers who go into the large brand name stores on Sainte-Catherine, and locals visiting a favorite pub. I think the best comparison I could think of was how the local stores used to be spaces of trust and association, social spaces, for the locals and shop owners. Through this merchants association as well as the popularity of the pub among locals (some customers and were greeted by name and asked for “the usual”), I believe there has been a more modern adapted fabrication of the past social network which allows the same sort of impression as the past local streets run by trust and easy neighborhood knowledge of each other.
Sara Lee ’18