Montreal’s oldest Irish pub will be torn down this summer – only to reopen at a new location days later, if all goes according to plan.
Developers have bought the land the Old Dublin Pub sits on at 1291a University, and the famed local staple will be replaced by “a condo or a hotel or a hotel condo,” according to the Old Dub’s owner-manager and McGill alumnus Johnny Asad.
But the pub’s new location at 636 Cathcart will be larger than its predecessor, and will finally have direct sidewalk access. The Old Dub’s present location fronts a parking lot, but in the past had been completely obscured from view from the street by another tavern.
“We were thinking of renaming it the New Dublin Pub, but I’m not going to wipe out 30 years of history,” said Asad, adding, “A lot of McGill students met their wives or husbands here.”
A landmark of the Montreal community around McGill campus, the Old Dub caters mostly to businessmen during lunch and happy hour, and to tourists and McGill students in the evenings.
Asad promised that the new pub will preserve the ambiance, including 15 types of half-pound burgers, each named after an Irish family.
As a graduate student at McGill, Political Science professor Jason Scott Ferrell began inviting his classes to the Old Dublin at the end of each semester, trying to recapture the intimacy of his smaller American alma mater.
“One of the things I noticed at McGill is, since it’s such a big institution, it seems like there’s not a real strong sense of community with students sometimes,” said Ferrell.
“I wanted to do for you guys [students] what had been done for me,” he added.
Twelve years later, Ferrell’s Old Dub posse has grown so much that Asad gives Ferrell’s classes the entire second floor of the pub when they come.
“It got to be such a big thing that students started bringing students… one time we must have had about 60 people there,” Ferrell said.
St. Patrick’s Day, one of the Old Dublin’s busiest times, attracted droves of McGill students and locals alike.
“It was packed. The music was pretty cool, and it was a good time,” said U2 Jewish Studies and Philosophy student Daniel Garwood.