Responses by Brad Montreal
Background: We created a reinvented tavern experience by developing the branding for the upscale casual restaurant, 1909 Modern Tavern, that is linked to a Québec-based professional sports organization: the Canadiens Hockey Club, or the Montréal Canadiens. Cara Limited and the Canadiens Hockey Club wanted to create a 365-day destination for visitors at the Bell Centre in Montréal and the Place Bell in Laval, the two busiest sport and entertainment venues in Canada.
Reasoning: The year 1909 officially marked the creation of the legendary Canadiens Hockey Club—the oldest and most decorated hockey team in North America—and the birth of Québec’s collective passion for professional sports. 1909 Modern Tavern pays homage to Québecers’ love of their sports heroes.
Challenges: Finding the balance between the team’s heritage and the 365-day destination that we wanted to create. Our branding couldn’t be just a Montréal Canadiens tribute where food and drinks were served. We wanted to feel the hockey tradition inspiration, without using the hockey club’s iconic blue-white-red palette as the primary colors and decor.
Favorite details: Finding that balance in the branding between the food and drink environment and the sports presence. The Montréal Canadiens’ fans are so passionate about their team that we put a ton of pressure to design branding that would not only represent the hockey club, but also appeal to clients who may stop by before different concerts.
Visual influences: The Prohibition era, a time in the first half of the 20th century when alcoholic beverages were prohibited. Numerous illegal bars (“speak-easies”) were opened, and many of these had a den-like atmosphere that featured wood, leather and metal accents. This inspired our journey toward an ink-stamped-look logo, and the use of black, dark red, and gold.
Time constraints: The first location at the Bell Centre in Montréal had to be open in time for the first home game of the 2017-2018 season. As a result, considerable effort was made to create or supervise pieces that would require longer production times. As the schedule advanced, we constantly adjusted our brand book to fit new constraints and challenges of the executions that came up along the way.