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Home > Highlights > La Maison du bootlegger
La Maison du bootlegger

Prohibition? So what!

I’ve never been to the Maison du Bootlegger. Not because I haven’t tried, but when the occasion came, the restaurant was full. But my friends and family have told me a great deal about it and it's just as if I’d already been there. By the way, what does bootlegger mean? From American English, it means "the man who hides a bottle in his boot". Basically, it simply was a name for alcohol smugglers during Prohibition. When we come to think about it, the name of the Maison du Bootlegger suits it well.

Illegal reconstruction
Maison bootlegger, architecture house

At first, this Quebec architecture house of Breton inspiration was built in 1860 in the north-eastern region of the Malbaie river. When the house was bought in 1933, the new owner, who was a rich American, decided to move it to its actual location, in Sainte-Agnès. In order to perform this operation, he had all the material in the house numbered, had the house taken down piece by piece and then had it rebuilt, but with a few, let's say... illegal additions inside. He had secret passages and halls added, which made it a maze worth of the Harry Potter series. Officially, this house was to be a hunting club. Unofficially, it was something totally different.

Discretion is a must!
At the beginning of the 20th century, transportation and selling of alcohol had became illegal, so smugglers proliferated. The owner took advantage of this increase, and his hunting club soon became the Club des Monts, which was a high-class place where rich bourgeois men from here and the United States gathered. These men already knew the area because of previous summer holidays, so if they could add vice to their relaxing activities, why not? The Club des Monts was a discreet place where men could come eat their hunting meet, have a prohibited alcohol drink, play clandestine casino, or simply spend some good time in “charming” company. When the Vice Squad turned up, men could easily hide, without the police seeing nor finding anything illegal. The present owner decided to give these secret hidings the place of honour.

New management, but not too different
Clandestine casino She transformed this clandestine house into a restaurant. She got information from the ancient owner’s descendants; she explored the place from attic to basement in order to make an inventory of each hidden corridor, revolving bar and trompe-l’oeil staircase and transformed the whole thing into a tourist attraction. This near museum allows you to walk through the mazes of the house, accompanied by a guide, so that you don't get lost. Visitors can even see the remnants of yesteryear, some authentic décors and signatures of renowned stars, who came to this establishment, like Elvis Presley. The restaurant has been built in the attic, where the roofs tilt to allow you to admire the view. People say that this is the place to eat the best steaks in the region, in addition to a place where you can spend some good time with friends to the sound of musicians playing on the stage.

The last word
That’s what I was told… And since I normally believe my friends, I strongly suggest you this visit. But don’t forget to make a reservation!

La Maison du bootlegger
110, Ruisseau des Frênes
La Malbaie (Sainte-Agnès)
Québec, Canada
G5A 2C8

Web site :
Phone :418 439-3711

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