Montreal's Best Bars
Collected by Isa Tousignant, AFAR Local Expert
The joie de vivre in Montreal has been the stuff of legend every since the city’s Sin City days, when exotic dancer Lily St-Cyr was world-famous and Montreal was the party town of choice for teetotalling Ontarians and Americans alike. Decades later, the party still lives on in this town, as evidenced by the regular lineups outside the clubs. But if clubbing isn’t quite your thing, tasteful drinkeries abound, and often come with kitchens worth the trip in themselves.
1243 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal, QC H3B 2V5, Canada
Walk into this place in the heart of busy downtown Montreal and you’ll feel like you’ve time-warped to the 1930s. When they took over this place, the current management restored a Montreal treasure to a former glory it probably never had, at least...
4807 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R6, Canada
Montreal’s wine bar par excellence, Le Comptoir gets its name from the long counter that extends on the small space’s left side, with bar seating that gives onto the open kitchen. It’s a show in itself, to see how well (and fast, during rush time)...
3643 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2V5, Canada
Warning: this photo is misleading, because Apt. 20 is never, ever empty. This lower Boulevard Saint-Laurent bar is the place to go if you want your civilized 5 pm tipple to turn into a dance party, with great spinning by DJs from near and far....
4175 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y7, Canada
Not to be mistaken for the popular izakaya of the same name (and same owners) down the street, on Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Avenue des Pins, this Big In Japan is on the corner of Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Rue Rachel. You may not notice the...
32 Rue Beaubien E, Montréal, QC H2S 1P8, Canada
Regulars at this Little Italy joint (and there are lots of regulars) flock here more for the friendly atmosphere and the cheap drinks than for the two bowling lanes that gave it its name (“quilles” is “bowling” in French). Games do happen though,...
4902 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R5, Canada
Perched on Boulevard Saint-Laurent near Boulevard Saint-Joseph, this vast British-style pub has been a fun, clean-cut addition to a corner where bars tend toward the grungy. Beer is centre-stage here, with an astute list of U.K. imports (hello, ...
6731 Avenue de l'Esplanade, Montréal, QC H2V 4P9, Canada
This summer-only bar in Mile Ex (a ten-block area between Mile End and Parc Ex) is a festive place to end any warm-weather day. Basically a big concrete space with communal picnic tables, string lighting and a garage-door opening, the sum of those...
4869 Av du Parc, Montréal, QC H2V 4E7, Canada
This favorite spot turned what used to be a dismal block on Avenue du Parc into a happening strip, inspiring a wave of restaurants and businesses to open around it. The bar’s stylish interiors are characterized by narrow, long tables for intimate...
5171 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R9, Canada
The perfect mix of a restaurant and a drinking spot, Hotel Herman on Boulevard Saint-Laurent in Mile End is ideal for either a three-course feast or a quick glass with a side of nibbles. The kitchen specializes in sophisticated, fresh dishes like...
425 Rue Mayor, Montréal, QC H3A 1N9, Canada
With an interior designed by Zébulon Perron (who also did Buvette Chez Simone and Hof Kelsten bakery), Furco is a cozy-cum-industrial spot in downtown Montreal, where tasteful tippling spots are few and far between. The atmosphere is a big part of...
4858 Rue Sherbrooke O, Westmount, QC H3Z 1H1, Canada
This gorgeously designed eatery clinks and clatters with happy diner satisfaction throughout the week, but the evenings and weekends are particularly happening. It’s a real meeting spot for hot young things and groups of well-to-do friends after...
740 Rue William, Montréal, QC H3C 1P1, Canada
With spaces for rent for private events upstairs and an idiosyncratic layout that makes it just as suited for banquet-style group parties as for quiet meetings or romantic getaways, Le Local is everything to everyone. It keeps the crowds coming...
4105 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y7, Canada
This handsome resto-bar on Boulevard Saint-Laurent trades in a fantastical aesthetic reminiscent of old timey circuses featuring mustachioed acrobats in striped leotards. The interior is panelled wood with a stuffed dear head and a long pale-wood...
5175A Av du Parc, Montréal, QC H2V 4G3, Canada
This vegan restaurant would be note worthy for the food alone, but it’s also music club that hosts live music every evening. Enjoy performances by local luminaries and unknowns alike in a welcoming, slightly happenstance atmosphere as you munch...
5322 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1S1, Canada
The British flair of this neighborhood pub has the wallpaper and dark polished wood to thank, not to mention the Cardinal tearoom on the second floor. The emphasis drinks-wise, however, is less on ale and more on classic cocktails and good...
6631 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2S 3C5, Canada
For a change from the nearby Notre-Dame-des-Quilles on Beaubien, this favorite neighborhood pub on Boulevard Saint-Laurent is great for a lively ambiance any day of the week. In fact, on most nights after 5 pm you’ll have to way for a table. They...
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