At 4175 Boul. St Laurent, behind a red door with no apparent indication of what lies behind it, Montreal's new secret hot-spot can be found: Big in Japan. Andre Nguyen, owner of popular restaurant Big in Japan opened a bar with the exact same name in December, relying only on a word-of-mouth strategy to attract a hip clientele.
The bar's secretive entrance and candle-lit heavily curtained walls distinctly give it a speakeasy feel. In this classy yet relaxed atmosphere, patrons can enjoy various types of sakes or classic drinks, which the mustached, bow-tie wearing bartenders prepare with old-fashioned flair.
By far the most striking and innovative aspect of this Asian-themed speakeasy watering hole is its central bar conceived by designer Bruno Braen from Cabinet Braun-Braen. Eliminating the need for tables, the central bar communicates with every customer in the joint. The hollow bar creates a space in between customers through which the servers circulate, efficiently taking orders and serving drinks. The result is that everyone in the room is facing the bar all while being connected by this network of counters, creating a unique ambiance heightened by unique Asian flavors.
Implications - Agressive marketing strategies might not always be the best solution for attracting customers. By being discreet and secretive, Big in Japan creates a bond with its customers and cultivates an image of exclusivity.