Montreal is a city with lots of joie de vivre. Natives of Montreal live for the next 5a7 or night out on the town. There are lots of places around town to partake in a drink at, people watch and enjoy some music. Depending on what you are looking for from a bar Montreal has a little bit of everything to offer.
The top bars vary from intimate venues with great music to larger establishments catering to young professionals or the college crowd. Montreal is great city for bar hopping as lots of the best bars are all clustered together.
Each of us has our favourite places to hunker down in and take a drink. It is all very subjective as to which bars will be your favourites. Here is a list of the bars I enjoy the most in Montreal:
1) Bily Kun: Address: 354 Mont Royal East. After a vacation in the Czech Republic, the two owners of the bar decided to try and recreate their favourite Czech bar right here in Montreal. After some hard work they finally opened the doors at Bily Kun in 1998. Microbrewery Bily Kun attracts a crowd of 25+ and hipsters. The décor inside is subtle lighting, chic design, high ceilings, candle-lit tables, and the bizarre rows of wall-mounted ostrich heads that look at you with their beady eyes. The bar offers a wide variety of left of center drinks including Polish vodka, Czech beer and Mexican tequila. Plus you can get absinthe, even an apple flavoured variety, here. There is also a small but interesting menu that includes nachos, pita and hummus and different kinds of nuts.
2) Le Saint Sulpice: Address: 1680 St. Denis. Situated in the heart of the city’s Latin Quarter, during the summer the vast terrace in back of the bar, which is a converted Victorian townhouse, really makes the place come alive. Many Montrealers start off their evening out here. A popular bar with the student population. If you want to get one of the popular outside tables around the water fountain plan to get there very early. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights there is karaoke, Wednesday night is Improv Night, and Monday nights are Latin Night. Besides a pitcher of beer or sangria you can order from their food menu things like poutine, wraps, paninis, hot dogs/hamburgers, and salads.
3) GoGo Lounge: Address: 3682 St. Laurent. Decorated in kitschy colours and décor out of the 60s, this lounge features very funky surroundings, menus on old vinyl records and drinks with neat names like Captain America, Kryptonite and Pussycat. You’ll never get bored having to drink the same old drink all night as they have 25 varieties of martinis. The music is also eclectic with selections running the gamut from 70s funk to 80s New Wave. The perfect springboard place to get a drink before going out dancing or somewhere that you can spend all night at.
4) Dieu du Ciel: Address: 29 Laurier West. An artisanal brewpub that aims to bring you an interesting and different tasting beer selection. It features a local crowd and is always crowded. The pub has room for 110 patrons and its happy hour runs between 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. There is always local art hanging from the ceiling or on the walls. The flavourful beers are what people keep coming back for. The beer menu changes daily. Make sure you taste a few different beers such as Mea Maxima Culpa, Wallonade, Rigor Mortis Blonde, and Decibel.
5) Tokyo: Address: 3709 St. Laurent. Fun and funky are two words to describe the crowd here. Most are either soon-to-be professionals or young professionals. On the weekend there is usually a long line of people trying to get in. There are different rooms each with its own theme. The décor is Asian-themed with plenty of nooks and crannies to find some privacy in. The fantastic terrace is open no matter the weather as it is heated. Plenty of talented DJs spin here.
6) Hurley’s Irish Pub: Address: 1225 Crescent. Opened in 1993, Hurley’s has been the premiere Irish pub in Montreal for a long while. With live music every night, 19 beers on tap, 50 different varieties of single malts, 16 whiskeys, and decent pub grub Hurley’s has all that people love about Irish pubs. It is not small and is comprised of several different rooms on two floors. You can sit at the bar with your pint, hunker down in a quiet corner with a table of friends, people watch on the front terrace, enjoy the outdoors on the newer back terrace, take in a soccer, hockey or rugby game in the sports room or listen to the live music featured on either floor.
7) Le P’tit Bar: Address: 3451 St. Denis. No cover charge, open every day, happy hour specials from 4:00 – 8:00, live music every night, and lots of ambiance. The name says it all, it is tiny with maybe five tables inside. During the summertime is when it really comes alive as the terrace opens and doubles the size. The people watching opportunities on the terrace are second to none. One of the cosiest places to get a drink in this part of the Plateau.
8) Vol du Nuit: Address: 14 Prince Arthur East. It is a great place for inexpensive pitchers of beer or pints. During their 5a7 mixed drinks are 2-for-1. In the summer the tables outside on the cobblestones allow you to enjoy the suns rays while quenching your thirst. Inside it is big and dark. A little dank but a great place to watch people. The crowd is a nice mix of students, regulars from the area and tourists. Conversation is possible as they don’t play the music too loud. A great place to watch a Habs game or drink cheaply before going to a club.
9) Café Sarajevo: Address: 6548 St. Laurent. Opened in 1993 by a native Bosnian, the bar has an authentic and warm feeling to it. Besides getting something to drink you can fill your belly with some traditional Bosnian dishes like Cevapi (sausages), Burek (cheese or beef) and marinated chicken. A very varied crowd hangs out here. There is often live Gypsy music performed. Just a few minutes from the real action on St. Laurent. A small patio in the summer, but I prefer the cave-like inside. A real hidden gem.
10) Café Chaos: Address: 1635 St. Denis. Opened its doors in 1995, Café Chaos is now the number one punk/metal bar in Montreal. In the heart of the Latin Quarter, it features loud music and great beer prices. It offers only microbrews. A hit with metal heads, punks and students from Universite de Montreal. It is a cooperative bar and also a live music venue that has done its part supporting the underground music scene for the past 17 years. Each night has a different theme: Local Sundays, Rock n Roll-Rock-a-Billy Mondays, Staff Night Tuesdays, Music from the 50s-90s Wednesdays, Metal Thursdays, Ladies Night Fridays, and Monster Rock and Roll Saturdays.