© Karl-Philippe Guérard
First: A little friendly-ish competition to get the adrenalin going
It’s always best to work up a bit of an appetite before heading out on the town, and Montréal is far from short on bachelor-party-appropriate activities to get the ball rolling. Like, say, practising your medieval battle skills.
The Maniax “friendly urban axe throwing” sport centre bills itself as “like darts, but a hundred times more awesome,” and we won’t beg to differ. Try your hand at tomahawks, mini axes, “The Viking,” “The Exterminator” and the terrifying-looking “Maniax,” among others. Bachelor party packages are available. Another popular axe-throwing emporium is Rage, with 11 throwing lanes, several axe types and professional instructors, and can accommodate and offer catering for you and up to 59 of your buddies.
At 10,000 square feet of war zones, the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district’s Combat d’Archers bills itself as Montréal’s largest combat archery complex as well as the city’s largest Nerf combat arena with game modes specially tailored for bachelor party outings. In the same vein, up in the neighbourhood of Mile End, Sports de Combats also has 10,000 of the square feet dedicated to group activities including Nerf battles, knife- and axe-throwing practice, archery lessons, combat archery and a “Rage Cage” where you can smash stuff to your heart’s content.
But if choice is what you’re after, look no further than the Ministry of Cricket & Other Homeless Sports. Comprised of three indoor, dividable turf fields spread out over 14,000 square feet, the Ministry of Cricket specializes in extreme archery, bubble soccer, ultimate Frisbee, Nerf battles, cricket, touch rugby and even quidditch, and is also home to more conventional sports like field hockey, lawn bowling, flag football, baseball and soccer. They’ve even got a Sherlock Holmes–themed escape room done up in true Victorian-era style. (Full disclosure: I brought my own bachelor party there, it rocked, and the guys are still talking about it.)
© Samuel Boisvert
Still on the exertional side, the athletically inclined bachelor gang will want to raise their gaze to the Horizon Roc Climbing Center, which offers more than 300 routes on over 31,000 square feet of climbable surface. Try out the amazing indoor “Acro ∞ Parc,” featuring a high-ropes course (tree-to-tree style, up to 40 feet high), a zipline and slacklines, and train on their new “Monkey Space” or test your balance and agility on the ParKours.
If the guys are feeling a need for speed, we’ve got that too. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to strap into an F1 race car and take it out on the track, Vortex Racing in the Montréal suburb of Dorval offers the experience, albeit without the stress of wrecking your $5 million ride. Their custom F1 simulators (which cost around $400,000 apiece) are the next best thing to the real thing, and teams of racers are welcome.
For those who want the authentic stink of oil and rubber in their nostrils, Action 500 go-karting is definitely the way to, er, go. Boasting 9 hp adult go-karts and the largest indoor go-karting track in Canada (and a paintball course, laser tag and an escape room to boot), special bachelor party packages pack the right amount of action.
Or maybe it’s the wind in your hair that you want? Take your gang skydiving without a parachute or a plane at SkyVenture Montréal, which features a vertical wind tunnel that reproduces the perfect free-fall portion of a parachute jump without having to worry about the weather or actually jumping out of a plane. Indoor skydiving requires no previous experience and bachelor party groups are welcome. And what’s a bachelor party without that other “b” word? By that, of course, we mean beer. Local Montréal Food Tours is offering a “hangover friendly” bachelor party craft beer walking tour of three noteworthy brewpubs. And in this instance only, you aren’t the competitors (no, this is not a beer drinking competition). Instead, the six local brews offered on the tour will be competing for your taste buds’ affection.
© Claudine Sauvé
Second: Steak your claim to great pre-party eats
Before the lunacy, or rather, revelry starts, you’re going to need to put down a solid base. And top-quality steaks are the go-to bachelor party tradition. Always a serious contender for being one of the best steakhouses in town, Moishes (temporarily closed) has a range of beautifully cured steaks, and don’t dare miss out on their Monte Carlo. (It’s also a virtual stone’s throw from a number of popular/trendy watering holes – like Blizzarts, Blue Dog, Bar Suzanne, Reservoir and Northstar with its classic pinball games – especially if you’ve got a good arm.)
The Plateau Mont-Royal location of the very popular L’Gros Luxe resto chain is a very a propos venue for bachelor party pre-eats not just because you can get your cocktails topped with an awesome burger slider or grilled cheese there, it also enjoys a sweet spot just a short hop from Saint-Laurent Boulevard (a.k.a. The Main), Saint-Denis Street and Mont-Royal Avenue, the perfect jumping off point. The steak and spiral fries for sure, but if you want to go off-message, the L’Gros Luxe BBQ Plate — pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken wings, mac’n’cheese and fries — will put down a satisfying southern base.
© The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (Vieux-Montréal)
Downtown, Bier Markt Montreal’s char-grilled, butter-covered steaks are not only the bomb, they also come with your choice of 150 types of beer from 30 different countries. It’s located in the former Queue de Cheval Steakhouse, speaking of which… La Queue de cheval Steakhouse and Raw Bar (now nearby in an old mansion on De la Montagne Street) is also at the top of the list of primo grilled-meat eateries, and its famous dry-aged steaks (35 to 45 days) are a bachelor party no-brainer.
Old Montréal is another way to go, especially for Montréal first-timers on a tight sched. The double-baked potato and “Baseball Steak” knock it out of the park at the “Old Faithful” of steakhouses, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (there is now a second location smack in the heart of downtown in the Place Ville Marie building, worth checking out in its own right). And the rib steak is one of the musts at old world, Old Montréal meat-eating institution Gibbys, while great service, great ambiance (a wood-burning fireplace!) and great steaks to match are the raison d’être of MTL fave Vieux-Port Steakhouse.
© Alison Slattery Photography
Lastly: Let the main event begin
No bachelor gathering is complete without a pub crawl, and we have two proposed routes. First, we suggest hitting Crescent Street and Bishop Street downtown (they run parallel to each other). On Bishop, check out Grumpy’s Bar (always a party with live tunes), and McKibbin's Irish Pub (you won’t want to leave) before heading over to Crescent for Mad Hatters (the name speaks for itself), the iconic Sir Winston Churchill Pub (lots of MTL history went down in here), Hurley’s Irish Pub (a real-deal Emerald Isle institution) and, of course, Brutopia (very cool seasonal brewpub and party place).
For those in your party who are perhaps a little more adventurous, who might want to get a taste of “le vrai Montréal,” we recommend a Mont-Royal Avenue bar tour that doesn’t stray far from easily accessible Mont-Royal metro. Start at Plan B Bar (great back terrasse) and head to Bily Kun (absinthe and ostrich heads on the wall, ’nuff said), Taverne Saint-Sacrement (great music and cheap eats), Chez Baptiste (très chic, très fun), Le Boudoir (lively and with microbrew prices that won’t break the bank), Barraca (rum and tapas anyone?) and the new-ish Pub West Shefford (craft beers and, check this, a vintage vinyl record store).
Good luck and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.