Get your nightlife on in Montréal
Montréal may nap from time to time (usually after brunch) but it never sleeps – how could it, with all this going on? Whether you’re looking for quiet drinks with colleagues, a romantic night of dancing or a hot rager that lasts ‘til morning, here’s a guide to the wide range of good times in store once the sun sets.
Indie venues to hear live music
Want to catch the next Arcade Fire? Montréal is known for its show bars, where for a few bucks (and often for free) you can hear indie acts any day of the week. There’s the famous Casa del Popolo and Sala Rossa in Mile End, Bar Le Ritz PDB in Mile Ex and so many more.
Jazz clubs and lounges to stay low-key
The world famous Festival International de Jazz de Montréal isn’t the only time you can hear fantastic jazz and low-key music in the city. Whether you want to sip cocktails to the sound of someone tickling the ivories at Stash Café, or lose yourself to the jazzy rhythm at Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, House of Jazz or once of the many others, you’re sure to find your bliss!
Classy hideaways to combine drinks and dinner
To take your sweet pea out on a tête-à-tête, to discuss a new project with business partners or to just take a load off after a packed day of shopping… sometimes what you need is a classy, muted chill-out zone to refuel. You’ll find that as well as delicious drinks and food at great hotel bars.
Wine bars to raise a glass to
In a city whose heart belongs to France, it’s no surprise that there are fantastic wine bars peppered all over the downtown core: Philémon, Accords and Le Vin Papillon, just to name a few. If you’ve also got an appetite, pick one of these, as renowned for their eats and for their vintages.
Brewpubs to write home about
Craft brewing fans will find plenty to celebrate in La Belle Ville, with brewpubs producing impeccable, creative ales and lagers all over the city. Some you won’t want to miss include the stylish Harricana, HELM and Station Ho.st, the cosy Dieu du Ciel and Cheval Blanc, and the lively Benelux, Vice & Versa and Brutopia.
Sport bars to watch the game
Second only to the thrill of seeing the Canadiens, the Alouettes, FIFA or F1 live, watching sports live in a bar filled with co-revellers and deep fried everything is its own type of awesome. Montréal has got great places to cheer on your team while drinking cheap pitchers, including Chez Serge, Champs and the chain La Cage - Brasserie sportive.
Great terrasses to bask in the heat
There’s one thing Montrealers never squander, and that’s summertime outside. Every spring bars, restaurants and cafés city-wide as much as double their space by spreading out outside, on rooftops, sidewalks and backyard decks. The result: Montréal’s famous terrasses, a wondrous place to tipple the evening away.
Hot spots to catch world-class DJs
It’s the birthplace of MUTEK, the home of the Société des arts technologiques (SAT), and the site of an annual city-wide celebration of digital culture… Montréal is definitely an international hot spot for electronica. From New City Gas to Stereo, there’s a slew of amazing places to dance to the beat at regular weekly DJ nights.
Caliente clubs to go dancing
Of course, you may dance to a different beat: salsa or tango, anyone? Let your twinkle-toes twirl at any one of these happening danceries, with or without partner. If you want to learn, you’re at the right place – there are classes for every level at many of these clubs, including Latin Groove to Air de Tango, as well as theme nights like Queer Tango. And if you’re more of a wallflower who enjoys watching others as you chat and sip on the sidelines, feel free!
Supper clubs to get the full meal deal
Nothing says “date” like a place that combines dinner and a show and/or dance party in a single location. Montréal has quite a scene of supper clubs, thanks to venues including Time Supper Club and Balcon Cabaret Music-Hall. For real Vegas-style entertainment, look no further than the Montréal Casino: in addition to the nine restaurants and bars, there are shows and libations at the Cabaret, including burlesque, comedy and music.
Pubs and whiskey bars to clink pints
For a true classic pub atmosphere, complete with shiny brass knobs, dark wood stools and green-leather booths, look no further than Montréal’s downtown core. There are a number of Irish, British and Scottish-style pubs to choose from, including McKibbin's and Ye Olde Orchard. For whiskey bars not to be missed, hop over the Quartier Latin for rare whiskey specialists L’Île Noire, and to the Plateau, for the local favourite Big in Japan Bar.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.
To see the list of our regular contributors, click here.