Fire at “Open Da Night”

There has been a fire at Cafe Olympico, also known as "Open Da Night," on rue St-Viateur. No one was hurt, but the damage looks extensive. Arson is not suspected.

Open Da Night was not just a cool hangout for an odd mix of students, geezers, and hipsters. It was an old-school Italian cafe in that its menu was limited and inexpensive, and the coffee excellent. Some say the coffee was the best in Montreal. (If I recall correctly, your only choice was espresso or latte — and the lattes came in only one size, which was very small by Starbuckian standards.)

In case you don’t know, the nickname comes from the stenciled letters over the doorway. They used to say "OPEN DAY AND NIGHT" but over time a few of the letters fell off, leaving only "OPEN DAY AND NIGHT." For many years there was no other sign on the place, except for a barely visible "Cafe Olympico" stencil on one window.

I can’t find much about it yet on the web, aside from this Montreal Gazette story (you need to log in to read beyond the first paragraph). Karl, however, has some photos of the aftermath on Flickr.