I hadn’t been in Montreal since the beginning of the summer, so when I was wandering up to the new Rouge Nail Bar on St-Laurent a few weeks ago, the place piqued my interest. A huge display of OPI nail polishes in the window drew me into the store (I’ve been looking for that royal blue “Dating a Royal” shade for a while and can’t find it anywhere!) and I was welcomed warmly by the manager. Rouge is snazzy, with sleek white couches and flat-screen TVs all over the walls playing Sex and the City 24/7. “It’s not the episodes so much that get repetitive,” the manager, Amel, cheerfully commented, “but the theme song really starts to drive you crazy when you’re here all day.”
Once I was inside Rouge, my friend and I weren’t going to be leaving before we got manicures from OPI’s Espana collection. This was pretty fancy for someone like me who usually has mangy fingernails and a way tight budget. We peeked at the menu, which included champagne and Cassis cocktails, smoothies, and cheese and fruit plates, but stuck to water. The manager talked to us about why the shop doesn’t use acrylic nails but a new option for manicures I hadn’t seen before: OPI nail gel laquers. They’re kind of like a long-lasting polish that you can paint on top of to blend colours.
Rouge was more expensive than a manicure you’d get in the basement of a Chinatown mall, but not crazy either. Manicures are $25, and on Monday nights there’s a special $45 mani/pedi deal for students, which isn’t bad considering the luxurious atmosphere Rouge provides. We met Bruno, one of the bar’s most-requested aestheticians – apparently he is inundated with pedicure appointments because pregnant ladies can’t get enough of his foot massages. Big man on campus!
Rouge was a bit fancy for an average weeknight manicure for students like us, but it was definitely a delightful experience. I’d recommend a Rouge gift card as the perfect Christmas present to pamper a lady you care about – sipping a champagne & cassis cocktail and munching on a cheese plate while getting a mani/pedi and watching Sex and the City: the very height of indulgence.
3790 St. Laurent