Whether you’re a hipster, bro, barfly or otherwise, Montreal has clubs, bars and hotspots for every whimsy. The eclectic and quirky urban tapestry that makes Montreal second only to New York City for the best nightlife in North America has been by stomping ground for more than a few years, so take it from a local, seasoned party girl and take your pick of my current favourite go-to’s for a night out on the town.
Best Bar for Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties
7 Rue Prince Arthur O, Montréal, QC H2X 1S4
Rouge has been a Montreal mainstay for raunchy nights out for years. With two floors playing everything from Top 40 to techno to RnB, it’s a great location that’ll appease every musical taste. Though they may not admit it in their press releases, you can be as wild as you want at Rouge – and if throwback rando make out sessions are your thing, you can certainly get away with it here, no matter what your age.
52 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal, QC H2Y 1L2
Joverse is currently the hottest club at the Old Port, and you’ll need to get there a tad earlier and/or make reservations and/or be on guest list and/or know the doormen, Mike and Darnell, in order to get in, lest you freeze outside in line for hours (I’ve seen way too many girls do this with nary their breasts covered). Once you do get in, the vibe is pretty unbeatable. While you will eventually get squashed like a sardine and most definitely get rum and coke in your hair, it’s got a vibrant party scene and the music is usually on point (though the playlist has been getting a little played out as of late). I’ve been to more birthdays and bachelorette parties at this club than I can count over the past two years, and it rarely fails to disappoint.
364 Rue de la Commune East, Montréal, QC H3C 2W3
Terrasses Bonsecours is a located at the Old Port, right on the waterfront. On Sundays, they host a boozy brunch, which many a Montrealer will tell you is the most glamorous way you can do the hair of the dog after over partying the night before (ah, the life of excess). By night, it boasts one of the best party scenes in the city, made all the more fun by great music, a stunning view of the Montreal skyline and a sexy crowd. With its open concept, summers will be the time to hit up this seasonal locale for your stag or doe.
*Terrasses Bonsecours is now closed until May 2016
Best Bar for Tinder Dates
327 Avenue du Mont-Royal E, Montréal, QC H2T 1P6
Though there aren’t any guarantees your date will be successful, you should at least be able to impress your date (and yourself) with Plan B, a quaint bar on Mont-Royal street. In the summertime, head to the back for a romantic, candle-lit terrace – one of my favourite in town. Can’t say any of the dudes I chilled with at Plan B ended up being my spirit manimals, but the ambiance is cool enough to at least guarantee a memorable night out (odds will increase depending on your swipe luck, of course).
Big in Japan Bar
4175 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y7
Big in Japan is the definitive date bar in Montreal. This Japanese speakeasy of sorts is nearly impossible to find, hidden beyond a black door scrawled with tiny Japanese characters. Open this mysterious door, and you’ll walk down a corridor where you’ll be greeted by a host in a French accent sporting a bow tie (kinda similar to the hosts and hostesses at Le Bar Sans Nom, another one of my favourite bars). The Etta James / Sam Cooke soundtrack, mixed in with dim lighting and a unique cocktail menu make for a romantic rendez-vous in the city that never settles down ( energy-wise and relationship-wise).
3581 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2T6
Suwu has recently become one of newer favourite date spots, mostly due to its offbeat design, interesting drink menu (and equally interesting menu design, for that matter) and laidback vibe. The music is great, albeit a little loud, and the staff is friendly. Two emoji thumbs up.
Best Bar When You’re Feeling Dancey
3518 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2V2
Sadly, one of the most most popular bars in all of Montreal recently had its liquor license suspended due to the owners’ non-compliance with the Montreal police “morality squad”, who asked them to kick suspected criminals out of their bar/ refuse them at the door.
Right. Let’s REFUSE entrance to mobsters at the door and get whacked, or let them in and get penalized for not wanting to get whacked. So much logic.
But I digress.
You know when you walk into a club, and you literally freak out when the song you love starts playing? That’s pretty much the Buonanotte experience – with EVERY song. You don’t need to gym on the weekends if you’re heading to Buona’s; you’ll be dancing until 3am and beyond, so pack your emergency pair of MK flats to keep up with us til then. Yes, the crowd is iffy at times and borderline pretentious, but hey…you’re at a supperclub, and it comes with the territory. It’s a local and international celeb hangout (not uncommon for the table next to you to be occupied by Montreal Canadians and their puck bunnies), and the food is on point and surprisingly affordable. PS: our favourite barmaid is Elinor, so ask for her and tip generously.
Best Bar for Your Going Away Party
3616 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2V4
B Side used to be deejayed by my old friend named Derek Orsi, who now spins at Nesta up the street (and used to spin at Rouge, as well); nowadays, the crowd’s a little younger, the DJ is new and it’s been renovated since its glory days of yore, when everyone from my high school partied here together when the bar staff consisted of our former classmates, but it’s still a pretty great night out in Montreal. The manager Davide is pretty dedicated to ensuring you have the best possible experience at his bar; he made the guest list for my going away party as Coco’s Supreme Guest List, and he’ll probably do the same for you if you ask him. Come on down and if you’re in Montreal, let me know and I’ll probably join ya.
Best Grecophile Experience
5318 Av du Parc, Montréal, QC H2V 4G7
Though my cultural background is Italian and West Indian, I have always had an unshakeable affinity for the Greek culture –or what I like to call grecophilia. The thing is, party spirits recognize party spirits in others, regardless of their race – and the Montreal Greek community knows how to party. In fact, many of my fondest party experiences have been with my Greek friends. For the best grecophile experience in Montreal, you must head to Mythos on a Saturday night (best night of the week for the craziest experience, hands down). Mouthwatering, authentic dishes are served by waiters and waitresses who are fluent in Greek, and the hall downstairs hosts a live bozouki band from Thursday-Sunday. The bar gets quite crowded as well, so you can dart back and forth between table dancing and getting your flirt on with some of my favourite local Greeks boys.
5843 Av du Parc, Montréal, QC H2V 4H4
I discovered the hidden gem that is Voggas Bar & Grill when I jumped onto the Greek bandwagon after Italy was eliminated from the 2014 World Cup. What emerged from that fateful day when I walked into Voggas to watch the Greece – Ivory Coast game resulted in over a year of less-than-sober evenings with my soulmates in the Greek community, a few failed relationships and lifelong friendships with some of the finest people I’ve ever met. Voggas is a small sports bar serving delicious food, but the real treat here is the entire staff, who are nothing short of amazing (we’ve had Christmas parties together, karaoke nights, and table danced at Mythos , to name a few favourite memories). If you’re looking for a place where everybody knows your name (and celebrates your name day, to boot), it’s time to make Voggas your go-to for your “in” into the magical world that is the Montreal Greek community.
Best Place for Casual Drinks With Friends
Drinkerie Ste Cunegonde
2661 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC H3J
Drinkerie could actually fall into two categories – casual drinks and ideal date night. What I love about Drinkerie is twofold: its awesome location (love Notre Dame street, which is riddled with countless other Montreal staples including Grinder and Burgundy Lion, right up the road), and its laidback, hip atmosphere, without any sign of pretention.
2496 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC H3J 1N5
Right across the street from Drinkerie lies Burgundy Lion, a British-themed pub with a fabulous terrace in the summer. It’s a fun place to meet old and new friends, and the casual relaxed atmosphere can turn a quick stop into an entire evening out.
Honourable mention: Petite Idee Fixe
Best After-Clubbing Food
5188 rue Jarry Est
Locals who are equipped with the luxury of a car (or a ride) will tell you that the best place for an after hours sandwich isn’t in the downtown core – it’s down in the East End, at a 24 hour café called Cafe Milano . Rife with Montreal Italians, they serve up Italian paninis like no other, effectively soaking up all the alcohol I’ve encouraged you to drink at my previous listings. In the daytime, head over for an espresso, and enjoy their spacious, sunny terrace in the summertime.
Paulo and Suzanne
5501 Boul Gouin O, Montréal, QC H4J 1C8
It’s hard to believe I only discovered Paulo and Suzanne a year ago during a mopey night after a break up (talk about a silver lining), as its a classic Montreal diner that’s been serving the best poutine in our city (IMO) since 1980. My go-to is the veggie poutine (my carnivore friends love it, too).
994 Rue Rachel E, Montréal, QC H2J 2J3
Banquise is the go-to after hours poutine place every Montrealer will tell you to go to. You’ll wait in a long ass line at 3 am, but it’ll be worth it; they’ve pretty much got the monopoly on late night poutine. Vegan tip: skip the Veganomane, as the Daiya is never quite melted enough. Simply ask for the Mexican poutine (my fave) with veggie sauce and ask them to hold the cheese. Non-veggies, take your pick among their dozens of specialties.
Best Under-the-Rader Old Port Experience
257 Rue Prince, Montréal, QC H3C 2N4
Le Serpent took over the spot from beloved Cluny a few years ago, but the food is absolutely delicious, the décor is fabulous and the staff is marvellous. An ultra luxe Old Port experience without breaking your bank, Serpent is the perfect evening for girls night out, date or a soiree among friends.
Best Bar for a Glass of Bubbly
343 Rue Saint Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H3
If you’re into party tricks – like opening a bottle of bubbly with the impressive art of sabrage – you’ll love Champagnerie, the only bar a sabrage in Montreal. Champagnerie boasts a wide selection of champagne and cocktails to choose from – and the food is pretty delicious too (though it doesn’t come cheap). It’s also the perfect spot to wear your business clothes that are slightly risqué for the office (you know, the sheer blouses and the pencil skirts that are just a little too tight).
What are some of your favourite go-to’s for a night out in Montreal? Share your love and haterade below!