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The Sir Winston Churchill Pub was founded by John Vago in 1967.

Vago, who left Hungary shortly after the putsch in 1947, started working as a builder-carpenter of cafés and restaurants in downtown Montreal. Looking for more adventure he went to Cuba, became a friend and emissary of Che Guevara, for whom he traveled to Europe on a trade commission. Upon his return to Montreal, he built his own disco, The Don Juan...

Shortly thereafter, in a long narrow basement, he opened the Sir Winston Churchill, the first pub on the street. His cheerful influence created a unique rapport with customers and staff alike.


Vago’s constant thirst for activity soon saw the cosy little pub double its size. Then, through various stages it evolved, from its basement foundations, into one of Montreal’s largest and best bar, restaurant and entertainment centres occupying, as today, all three floors of four buildings. It is truly the founding establishment on Crescent Street and a landmark in Montreal.

“On Crescent Street, terraces are THE thing but a whole world is created around them by the shops and the people.  It happened first with the Sir Winston Churchill Pub and the Boiler Room, then the idea spread.”

Johnny Vago retired from the business in 1994.  Sir Winston and Winnies have retained their friendly neighbourhood atmosphere – where regulars mingle with visitors from across Canada, the U.S.A. and around the world – visitors indeed who return to become international regulars.


Sept 1979: Winnies opens above the pub.

1995: The Sir Winston Churchill Pub and Winnie’s bought by a restaurant group headed
by restaurateur Paul Nakis.

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