The first thought that comes to mind when most people hear “Big in Japan” is the restaurant featured on the Montreal episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. However, most people didn’t know the same restaurant has a “secret” bar eight minutes away.

BIJ Entrance

Located four blocks north of the restaurant, tucked behind a red door, stands this magnificent bar. I think the reason I like BIJ so much is because there are no gigantic markings or neon signs identifying it place and presence– it’s just a dope spot you’ll only hear about through word of mouth. Seriously, with no advertising, this place deserves a huge shout out, since in this day and age, 50% of businesses fail within the first year, and 95% fail within the first five years.


Who to bring: The Big in Japan Bar is an ideal place for a close knit group of 4-6 friends, or even more so, a fantastic date spot to impress that special someone.

Drinks: I’m a big rum & coke guy, and Appleton is my go-to drink. They serve it just right with a generous amount of alcohol.

Ambiance: The bar is quite dark and mostly lit up by candles, which creates a very warm and intimate vibe. There’s great décor, with whiskey bottles hanging from the ceiling, along with a maze-like seating arrangement, which makes it quite easy for one to get drinks, as the wait staff can flow in and out of the crowds.

The fact that the bar is quite hidden also establishes a bit of a cocky atmosphere with the elite, in-crowd. This is quite contradictory to that warm vibe I described, but you just have to go there to understand what I mean.

photo 3

Service: It’s alright, nothing too spectacular.

Price: $$ – Quite reasonable.

Afterglow: Big in Japan is one of my favourite places to go to in Montreal, and I do encourage you to check it out.


Big in Japan on Urbanspoon