Habs playoff push delivers mixed results for Ste. Anne bar scene

Anthony Abbondanza
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No other bar scene can use a little help from a deep Montreal Canadiens playoff push than the one in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, an area economically stifled by construction woes the last three years.

The Montreal Canadiens playoff success is impacting local merchants differently in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

With the ‘Bleu, Blanc, and Rouge’ taking on their hated rival in the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s Eastern Conference second round series, local bars are seeing more tables filled, but not necessarily more revenue.

At Cunningham’s Pub, part-owner and general manager Jim Beauchamp said his bar is “already quite busy four nights of the week” in spite of the Canadiens playoff success.  In fact, he called it a detriment on certain nights.

“When it falls on busy night, it’s sort of a detriment because we don’t get the turnover in customers,” said Beauchamp.

However, the general manager said the playoffs bring in more customers when games are aired on unconventional days like Sunday and Monday.

“Honestly, it’s good for us. It’s definitely a positive,” said Beauchamp.

Meanwhile at Annie’s, the playoffs couldn’t have come at a better time. The pub's general manager said the playoffs have alleviated what he described as a “tough winter.”

“It’s always tough out here. As far as hockey goes, a lot of bars don’t get great turnouts during winter unless the team had a great year the prior season,” said Steve Graham.

It’s always tough out here. As far as hockey goes, a lot of bars don’t get great turnouts during winter unless the team had a great year the prior season Steve Graham, general manager of Annie's

According to Graham, the longer the current Canadiens-Bruins series goes, the more customers they attract –but it’s dependent on the weather. Annie’s Bar, he said, will attract 80 per cent more with poor weather as opposed to the 50 per cent addition due to sunshine.

But not everybody is reaping the benefits from the Canadiens’ playoff push. For one local restaurant, the Hab’s success means less customers.

Since Au Bout de l’Isle is void of a bar and big-screen televisions, the Ste. Anne Street business struggles on game nights, said owner Jean-Claude Provost.

“There’s nobody on the street, except to go to Cunningham’s. Nobody goes to see the retailers,” said Provost, also the president of the Ste. Anne Street Merchants Association.

The playoffs come after a tough winter for the restaurant.

“It was cold. There was lots of snow. And nobody comes,” Provost added.

Game 5 is at 7 p.m. tomorrow night in Boston.

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Organizations: Canadiens, Boston Bruins, NHL Anne Street Merchants Association

Geographic location: Boston

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