5 hottest bars in Montreal
Don't miss these awesome cocktail bars. The hottest places to unwind after dark.
Emulating the speakeasies of old, this is cocktail mixology at its best with owner Fabien Maillard manning the helm. The drinks here are both science and works of art and the setting is warm and inviting, decked out in wood, brick and subdued lighting. Maillard’s philosophy is “drink less but drink better” and this idea is evident in the bars’ use of fine ingredients, be they herbs, spices, syrups vinegars or freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices. The bartenders are referred to as Lab-tenders and take their time mixing you the perfect cocktail because Rome wasn’t built in a day nor the Sistine Chapel painted in an hour and these libations are the equivalent in the world of mixed drinks. With names like Baby Dragon, Jerky Lab Jack, Beaver Hall and the Painkiller, your imagination cannot even conceive of the delights that await you. There are slight snacks offered also but really they’re secondary to the works of liquid art concocted in the “laboratory.”
Tel: +1 514-544-1333 http://barlelab.com/
The vibe in this hip Plateau-district establishment is fun, friendly and boisterous and no wonder. There’s more than fifty kinds of rum on the menu. Dark wood, a long bar, small intimate tables and vintage bullfighting posters set the mood and Mediterranean-styled tapas listings complete the picture. The mojitos here are fabulous along with the sangria but the rum is the real draw, culled from everywhere in the world where the spirit is produced. So there’s a kind of Spanish/Caribbean motif except for the food, which borrows heavily from Spanish inspiration. Thus beef empanadas, Catalan sandwiches with chorizo and Manchego cheese, pizza Espagnole and Patatas Bravas. In the summer, the shrubbery-cloistered back patio is a great place to wile away an afternoon or an evening.
Tel: +1 514-525-7741 http://barraca.ca/
Kasey Wilson is a food and travel writer, broadcaster and author. She is editor of Best Places Vancouver; executive producer and co-host of AM650¹s Best of Food & Wine and author of ten non-fiction books. Wilson was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame and is a judge for The World¹s 50 Best Restaurants.
By Kasey Wilson
If whiskey is your thing, then this is the place to be. Scotch listings with over 200 selections available are dizzying, and that’s before you drink anything. Not to mention the American bourbon, Canadian rye and Irish whiskey options. The front room emanates a dark, cozy pub setting with mahogany wood and velvety booths and the back room is sleek and modern. It’s like a tale of two cities, much like Montreal itself. Besides the whiskey, there’s a rotating cavalcade of fine beers on tap, focusing on British and local micro-breweries and besides whiskey, the bar is also known for its extensive gin list. Housed over top of a McDonald’s, the place can be easy to miss. but on the plus side if the few bar snacks don’t do it for you, you can always go downstairs for a Big Mac.
Tel: +1 514-982-0866 www.ilenoire.com/
Dominion Square Tavern
Situated in the heart of the business district, this spot oozes vintage charm as if it had just stepped out of a sepia-toned photograph. Which makes sense since the original tavern was built back in the “Roaring Twenties” and renovations have kept it up to date without sacrificing its speakeasy appeal. It’s a stunningly beautiful room that will transport you to another era but the menu has a contemporary gastropub feel; from bangers and mash, to mussels cooked in bacon and cider, to duck leg confit. The classic cocktails are mixed and served up by an inspired staff. Don’t forget to try the absinthe with all its ritualistic accompanying contraptions and devices for pouring it.
Tel: +1 514-564-5056 www.tavernedominion.com/en/
The initial impression on walking into this dark, atmospheric room is what is going on with all the rows of taxidermy ostrich heads hanging high up on the wall. Somehow ostrich heads seem less threatening than say elk heads and they certainly set the mood for this arty Czech-inspired bar scene that attracts both hipsters and professional alike. Unique cocktail listings with global ingredients will certainly tempt the adventurous drinker and the beer selection is extensive. Finger foods like empanadas, nachos and salsa, chicken tamales or hummus and pita are offered and in the evening, you might catch some live jazz or a DJ spinning some tunes.
Tel: +1 514-845-5392 www.bilykun.com/