If the names Casa Pedro, Les Halles, The Boiler Room,
Friars Pub, Flix Cinema, The Bicylette and Carol's Snack Bar bring back waves of nostalgia, you're officially old.
Drinking pitchers of sangria at Casa Pedro's, having fancy French table service at Les Halles or watching Ronnie flip burgers at Carol's well into the wee hours - these are memories from Crescent St., the party block between de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Ste. Catherine St.
Who knew when the first wine bar, Chez Tonneau, opened in 1959 that this would become a destination for locals and tourists alike, written up in guide books as the place to go on a party evening?
It's been 50 years since the drinks first flowed on Crescent and the merchant's association is throwing a street party to mark the occasion.
"We're celebrating 50 years of bringing nightlife to Montreal," says association president Sandy Greene.
And to tap into the nostalgia, check out the acts that will perform live on an outdoor stage: Michel Pagliaro, Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger, who had monster hits in the '70s, '80s and '90s, respectively.
If the lyrics of Some Sing, Some Dance and Rainshowers are now stuck in your head, you're not alone.
Pagliaro dominated the Quebec radio waves in the '70s and his hits in both French and English are in heavy rotation on the oldies and classic stations.
Bernard Ragueneau has been a restaurateur on Crescent for 36 years, opening Thursdays in 1973. He actually lived on the street in 1967.
"This was a residential area back then; you could hear dogs barking at night and see people on rocking chairs on their balconies," he said of the area, which is now chockablock with eating and drinking establishments.
The first bar that opened was only permitted to sell wine and beer, no spirits, because temperance laws were much stricter 50 years ago.
"It was hard to get a liquor permit in those days; you had to have connections to get one," Ragueneau says.
The area opened up more when de Maisonneuve Blvd. was built, linking several other streets such as Western, St. Luc and Burnside, which had been a back lane serving the major stores on Ste. Catherine.
When Tonneau's became a hit, others followed: the Winston Churchill Pub in 1967, Mousse Spacthèque in 1968, Casa Pedro in 1970 and, in 1973, Ragueneau took his Friday's concept restaurant on Cathcart St. and opened Thursday's on Crescent.
"My father always said if you're a good shoemaker, go to a street where there are other shoemakers," he says.
Crescent St. was perfect for bars and restaurants with its old stone buildings and the action moved over from Mountain St., which had a few nightclubs.
"There were too many open lots on Mountain," Ragueneau says of the parking garages and vacant spaces.
There were lots of artists who hung around Crescent in those days, one of them being a young musician named Michel Pagliaro.
"We had drinks and a lot of good memories at Casa Pedro, so playing there this weekend will be a bit of déjà vu," Pagliaro says.
In the early '70s, Crescent was the preferred hangout of many in the motorcycle crowd, but all that changed in 1976, Ragueneau says.
"The Olympics cleaned things up."
Many of the original haunts have gone by the wayside. Carol closed her snack bar after her son, Ronnie, died in a motorcycle accident. Les Halles served its last "surprise du patron" in 2005 after 34 years of business.
To celebrate a half century of partying, Crescent will be closed to vehicle traffic from 4 p.m. tomorrow until 8 a.m. Sunday between de Maisonneuve and Ste. Catherine.
Tomorrow night, 50 Austin Minis will be parked on the street to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic car.
The fun starts at noon on Saturday with a jet-pack flying demonstration. Five stations on the street will highlight the five decades of Crescent with the appropriate clothing and music and information panels showing the timeline.
The three big shows, all free, start with Pagliaro at 5 p.m., Honeymoon Suite at 7 p.m. and Glass Tiger at 9 p.m.
"We'll be doing all the hits, songs people know," Pagliaro says.
"I think it's a great idea to bring this to the street and it's going to be a lot of fun."
Crescent between de Maisonneuve and Ste. Catherine will close at 4 p.m. tomorrow and reopen at 8 a.m. Sunday.
Got some photos or personal memories of your times on Crescent St.? Send them to montrealgazette.com and we'll put them up on the website.
Crescent St. Celebration Lineup
5 p.m. Austin Minis line the street, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic car
12:30 p.m. opening ceremonies and cake. Jet-pack pilot Eric Scotte will fly off the roof of Stogies bar and hover over the street. He flies again at 4:45 p.m.
Starting at 11 a.m. costumed dancers and and a deejay will showcase five decades of Crescent St. from the flower power '60s, disco '70s, break-dancing '80s, Euro-dance '90s and house and electro-beat 2000s.
5 p.m. Michel Pagliaro performs on the Bud Light Lime stage
7 p.m. Honeymoon Suite on stage
9 p.m. Glass Tiger on stage.
All shows are free