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Milky Way Cocktail Bar
Photograph: Elizabeth Gartside / @parfumdefemme

The 55 absolute best bars in Montreal for quenching your thirst

Cheers to the best bars in Montreal, a top shelf selection of the city's key players in beer, wine, spirits and more

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
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UPDATE, August 2021: No one could have predicted when we inaugurated our list of the best bars in Montreal back in 2019 that the world would go through the changes it has. Amongst all of the uncertainty we experienced, some of our most beloved watering holes have been to hell and back and some of them that didn't make it in the end (pour one out for Balsam Inn and Ti-Agrikol). Let's raise a glass to this refreshed and refreshing selection, shall we?

Santé, Montreal!

We’ve done our homework (and have the hangovers to show for it), having explored the city’s libational landscape to find which spots are the best bars have the top drinks in Montreal. One look and you’ll find a distilled collection of the city’s best wine bars and cocktail bars, pints of the best beer, speakeasy bars, nightlife hotspots and anything else you might be thirsty for. Consider this your guide to the full spectrum of possibilities, ranging from local watering holes to high-end lounges, whether they serve brews, bubbles, or double down as counting among the best restaurants as well. You can’t go wrong when picking your poison here; this is your guide of where to grab it.

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Grab a drink where all the best chefs and restaurants have collected

  • Bars and pubs
  • price 2 of 4

The Time Out Market Montréal not only features a handpicked selection of the best chefs and restaurants in town, a cooking school and a retail shop; it’s also got three bars that are each individually focused with wine, beer and cocktails.

This ain't your average watering hole—we got our hands on drink recipes from exceptional Montreal mixologists as well as beer from local breweries Dieu du Ciel, Archibald, Microbrasserie de Charlevoix, Pit Caribou, and other breweries. If you’re in the mood to pair your meal with the perfect wine, our expert sommeliers will know just the one.

Where to find the best bars in Montreal

Travel up a black-lit wormhole of a staircase, and you'll arrive in the Milky Way's galaxy. With its jungle terrarium skylight and vaporwave accents, it's a part-verdant, part-blissed out décor that matches up perfectly with the mixology on offer, placing emphasis on what's refreshing and what will keep you guessing. This bar's arrival on Montreal's scene is the latest in a hot streak from the Barroco Hospitality Group, and the drinks are no exception: A forte cocktail (and mocktail!) menu sports as many curios like champagne reductions and toasted sesame oil to pique curiosity as it does create odes to tiki traditions as well as Central and South American classics. Finally, access to the pizza-forward Fugazzi's menu from downstairs is what seals the deal for us.

Driven by a motley crew of award-winning mixologists like owner Kevin Demers and head bartender Pierre-Hugues Marois, the Coldroom delivers all the goods a speakeasy should have without any cheap theatrics: A non-descript door, basic interior and solid, common sense house rules keep the ruckus in check and the service smooth. Expect to find a cocktail selection that shifts with the seasons plus spins on classics—an old fashioned with mezcal, anyone?—plus an incredibly knowledgeable and inventive team.

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While one of the freshest craft breweries on the Montreal scene, Messorem Bracitorium (roughly translating to 'The Grim Reaper's Brewery' from Latin) has quickly risen to the top of everyone's lists for thicky 'n' creamy and sour IPAs as well as some crowd-pleaser lagers. Owners Marc-André Fillion, Vincent Ménard, and Sébastien Chaput have pinpointed a perfect recipe for a brewery bar with a spacious canalside terrasse for summers and large taproom for winters, an off-the-beaten-path charm of discovery to it, and pure quality of sour-type hopbeer product; not to mention their kitchen that pairs perfectly with downing pint after pint, usually helmed by local stars

Among La Petite-Patrie's handful of boozy hangouts that carry the torch for the neighbourhood, vinvinvin is the best of the freshest with its wine curation and playfulness on its menu. Focusing on central and northern European wines, they make things interesting by organizing its menu by palate with categories like mineral, dry, and curveball hit-me-with-your-best-shot options like 'punk' or 'émotion' (but you'll know the colour too). It mixes things up in ways that feel—and taste—fresh with honest fun that's free of pretension.

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The possibilities of what a hotel bar could be experienced a resurgence with this smart renovation in the Fairmont’s The Queen Elizabeth downtown. Director of mixology and self-taught bartender Nader Chabaane’s upped the game with his application of rotating cocktails, and a menu arranged as a tasting wheel so thirsty patrons can follow their flavour profiles. An inimitably cool establishment, the cocktails are a necessity here, but there’s just as many beers, bubbles and wines for those less inclined.

Since 2004, the wine bar Pullman from Catherine Bélanger and Bruno Braën stands tall on the sommelier scene, and not just because of its high-vaulted ceilings. Underneath an incomparably ornate chandelier made from wine glasses, the cavernous selection of bottles upon bottles of bubbles, red, whites, rosés and oranges is among the largest to be found in Montreal. Due to an old law that states bars like Pullman require food with booze, the only catch is that you have to snack. Luckily, there’s a solid range of tapas-style dishes, none of which exceed $20 at most.

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STILLIFE embodies a new frontier for the mixology mastery locals and tourists alike have come to know its owners' Cloakroom cocktail bar for, and not just because it's massive in comparison at 125 seats: Beer and wine are given careful consideration, but a long menu of cocktails is the crowning achievement here with its sustainable and low-waste aims while still creating über-creative takes on classics, from daquiris to old fashioneds. Above all, it doesn't hurt that the environment here is so immaculately sleek that you just feel cool sipping away at some vermouth or amaro-based concoction.

Wondering why there’s a red carpet with red velour ropes set up in an alleyway behind the chic restaurant Foiegwa? Fashioned as a speakeasy, the ACC’s a unique locale for a unique bar, albeit no password’s required. Its pristine insides were designed with French discotheques in mind, and sports one of the more original cocktail programs in town by co-owner Christophe Beaudoin. If its staggering wall of liquors and resulting concoctions don’t impress, then we’d be happy to take your seat; no reservations at this hotspot.

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With the neighbourhood of Verdun being historically dry for decades prior to 2014, this cocktail bar and tap house turned a lot of heads when it threw open its doors. The bonus lied in the quality of the drinks to be had, signature mixtures with a heavy emphasis on fruity elements coming by the glass or the pitcher. Couple that with a social club feel from board games, snack menus and musical performances, and that’s a recipe for good times. If it's summertime? Always ask about the back terrasse.

The art of the pub has ridden a huge comeback wave in Montreal, and this beautiful Old Montreal spot rode it while doing a handstand. Part of the reason is that its operations team comes from the public house savants behind Burgundy Lion and Bishop & Bagg, and that means assured quality, but this place puts even more emphasis on cocktails and wine than its forebearers. Just like those last projects, this one pushes food offerings beyond what can just be cooked out of deep fryers that can be enjoyed with a wide range of taps, busy shakers and turning winecorks. Word to the wise: Bottomless mimosas for brunch on weekends.

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The first bar to open up in Verdun after years of lingering prohibition, Benelux enlivened its neighbourhood’s main strip with its artisanal brewing capabilities. The brews here rotate regularly with something for everyone: Equipped with a solid selection that reaches from bitters, stouts and pilsners to German varieties like Dunkelweizens and Hefeweizens, it provides a good old fashioned brouhaha with its tasting platters and solid sandwiches for pub grub.

Slowly, steadily, the neighbourhood of Saint-Henri achieved a lot of infamy first for its food, then for its nightlife. The flagship behind where to drink came from Loïc, a uber-sleek bar that features an impressive wine list alongside masterful cocktails, some concessionary beers on tap, and a kitchen dishing out simple yet effective menus. Sometimes a sighting ground for celebrities, a step into the space makes it clear that this is a great bar to get away from it all. The only issue comes from waiting for your turn on a busy night, but hey, that’s popularity for you.

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A fresh ode to a Havanan bar, this cocktail stop’s nine seats can get crowded on a busy night, but that doesn’t stop folks from flocking here on a hot summer night. Coming at Montreal from the folks behind the Coldroom, this tiny spot focuses on serving Cubanos, a small selection of rhum-based cocktails and beers. As plain and simple as it sounds, the work of the bartenders here is an exhibition of a lot of skill, if not resulting in delicious work.

Chinatown wasn’t exactly bursting with bar options before David Schmidt’s Le Mal Nécessaire came along. Excitement was immediately cemented by its strong tiki vibes, delivering cored fruit beverages alongside drinks coming by either the glass or the pitcher. The fun, green neon-soaked vibes are strong with this one, and there’s a double benefit coming from its close-to-zero-waste policy (with the exception of using the neighbouring Chinese restaurant Fung Shing for grub). Look for the brightly-lit green neon pineapple for good times.  

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A gamified bar experience, the location is a “well-kept secret” revealed through signing up for their newsletter online. Accessible by pushing against its entrance’s ‘fourth’ wall, the mystery of a Prohibition-era speakeasy runs deep here. Burlesque shows and live jazz on Tuesdays and Saturdays, dapper bartenders, drawn curtains; it’s all there. Even without the theatrics they commit to, trust the quality of the mixology of its founders when considering they’ve all accrued national championship cocktail titles, and one of them started L’Ecole du Bar de Montréal, a local bartending school.

Themed after the chic French pool club Piscine Molitor from the 1930s, Pelicano has the look and feel of descending into an emptied pool, complete with a central bar you ‘swim’ through the crowds to. One of the freshest addresses from local bar wunderkind David Schmidt, it doubles down on the cool by hosting a range of awesome DJs and offering short but sweet snacks from the restaurant Tiradito upstairs. All cocktails come with strong beachy feels, brimming with booze and crushed ice.

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The towering mason jar jugs of booze here have long been a popular business in Montreal, so popular that this particular name sports three different locations. Whichever one you choose, the quality’s consistent across its four categories of drinks: Powerful, refreshing, fruity and classic (plus some mocktails for your teetotaling friends). The tall, jarred booze—and shorter drinks too—here change bi-annually, so the menu’s always being refreshed. Take our advice: Don’t rush into your second round too quickly. The drinks here pack a wallop.  

Part brewpub, part wood-fired restaurant, Pamplemousse has all the makings of an excellent pub but is set in a smooth cocktail bar-like setting. With its novella-length menu of taps to choose from, plus Caribbean-style food from chef Pelopieas Brisson-Tsavoussis, the nights here are regularly bustling with hungry and thirsty traffic. Seek this one out for a one-stop-shop that curates the best microbreweries in the city, as well as some mixed drinks that pack a wallop. Also, and fight us on this if you want to: Best radler in the city.

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Sure, beer’s been long regarded as a blue collar’s post-shift repast, but that doesn’t mean it can’t receive a classy treatment. Harricana’s selection of beer, many of which are brewed onsite, is of a distinguished quality that’s delivered with smooth service staff who treat the wares no differently than they would a fine wine. There’s some visiting breweries available here too, and that makes the taps number in at over three dozen. With its light-filled, airy interior spread out over several different areas and an outdoor terrasse with bleachers, the experience here can be as intimate or communal as you’d like it to be.

This one’s sure to get you stumbling: Owner Anthoni Jodoin’s bar is a great place to grab a stool and order some seriously yummy beverages which are all organized by alcohol content according to the following stages of inebriation: I work tomorrow, I’m calling in sick, I’m texting my ex, and I lost my cell phone. Here you’ll find many standard tiki quaffs like the mai tai and flaming zombie as well as overflowing cocktail bowls to wade through with your friends.

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It's all the right stuff here: A rooftop terrasse, superb selections of natural wines, creative work with cocktails, and menus that highlight seasonal vegetables. The Société des arts technologiques may steal the spotlight often because—let's face it—it's hard to compete with a giant dome theatre with trippy films on display, but the dinner and drinks that can come before that movie? Wonderful when it's taken in here. All together, it forms a package that few bars and restaurants can compete with in this city. 

It was hot on the microbrewery scene when it first opened, and it’s still hot on the scene today; Dieu du Ciel! is one of the premier spots to get entirely beers brewed entirely in-house (give or take a couple collaborations). With as many as two dozen recipes to choose from at any given time, the options can occasionally get a bit intimidating, but 4oz tasting glasses running at $2.50 a pop make that easy. It’s fondly regarded as a great place to kick back; that is, if you can nab yourself a table. It’s perpetually popular to say the least.

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If you’re a city core-dwelling student or think the Plateau’s got everything you need, you need to reevaluate your life—well, you always did, but the drinks fashioned in this Ahuntsic cocktail bar will single-handedly have you considering what other treasures Montreal’s got in store. From proper classics to supremely inventive drinks, this institution from Jean-Maxime Giguère helped put its neighbourhood on the map. You need to taste it to believe it.

Most beer bars in Montreal are assessed according to whose brews they have on tap, but what about going straight to the source: A brewery and taproom that acts as a brewing solidarity cooperative? MaBrasserie is where bars like Isle de Garde, Broue Pub Brouhaha make their ales, so going straight makes it as fresh as possible. Founded in 2015, this place has boomed into 32 lines of beers, a really delicious menu, brewing events and more, all in a spacious area that once housed an old tannery. Beer lovers, you're home here.

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An upscaled take on Portuguese tavernas from hotshot restauranteurs Alex Wolosianksi, Marc Bungarten, Eric Dupuis and Alex Baldwin, Henrietta’s one of those reclaimed ideas that does its part in delivering what matters most. In this case, there’s a highly rated kitchen delivering as many interesting takes on traditional recipes as there are classics, as well as wine lists that leans mostly natural and biodynamic (see: flavourful with a constantly refreshed selection). Food’s no joke here, but really, folks drop in to see what’s being uncorked every day of the week.

This brewpub maintained a long bout of notoriety for its reliability, delivering a classy spot to drink house-brewed beer atop their rooftop terrasse. Sure, the application of a stellar kitchen really put this place on the map for Montreal, but few dispute the choice beer they’re making here, numbering in at about a dozen at any given time. Cozy and casual, the combination of brewmasters and chefs at Réservoir is one that wins on many fronts. Pick whatever poison you like, but their cherry beer’s got a special place in our hearts.

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What originally began as a men’s bespoke grew to include room for a discreet speakeasy accessible through its coat check in 2015. Since then, the Cloakroom has accrued itself some of the city’s top mixologists and enough popularity to spur a second location across the Atlantic in Brisbane. It’s about as swanky as it gets here, with drinks made to order and the ice so clear you can see the other side of the room through it. The cocktails here are as tailored as the suits (pun definitely intended).

Located below Hà Restaurant in Old Montreal, the paper lantern-covered ceiling of Nhâu is just the right amount of fun in its decoration and speakeasy feel without being too kitsch. The cocktail program here—put together by whizkids Maxime Daraize and Tao Zrafi—works off of the bar’s Vietnamese culinary counterpart with pan-Asian ingredients that include the likes of pandan, miso, sesame, oolong tea, and tamarind. Groups tend to lean towards a couple of their sharing cocktails, served in large vessels like hollowed-out buddhas or conches.

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Unless the name isn’t enough of a giveaway, Rouge Gorge is devoted to quaffing glasses upon glasses of fine wines. For lovers of the grape, take note: This address boasts one of the most impressive cellars in the city and is a great spot to discover new regions’ and countries’ vintages. What’s more, the long multitiered space is sleekly designed and the kitchen’s been known to please as well. Located in the Plateau, it’s in a neighbourhood that has no shortage of cool spots to check out, but it’s certainly more stylish with this one.

Now and then we’ll mention to friends that we’re ducking into this bar for a quick drink, to which they’ll reply: “Who?” We’re all for exposing best-kept secrets in this city, but we ask you treat this one with respect. N Sur Mackay’s one of the most unpretentious and skilled cocktail bars in town, a place that’ll make you any classic drink you desire, whip up something on the spot or proffer something from a rotating list of seasonal recipes. Best of all, bartenders here are exceedingly convivial. We wouldn’t want to change a thing about it.

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Amongst all of the watering holes and dive bars in Montreal, only so many execute their no-frills program in a way that’s consistently convivial. Bar de Courcelle’s one of those spots, having been a dive bar in the past for Saint-Henri locals before renovating into a ‘new’ spot that kept much of its original charm. With tall bottles of beer and classic cocktails in hand, people relax here after work during the day, and stay for its constant slew of DJs, live acts and open mics at night.

Maxime Perrault and Jessica Goulet’s meticulously renovated garage with precise designs excels for many as a restaurant, but the bar program alone is worth visiting for. Jonathan Homier’s cocktail program is a touching tribute to fine liquors with its artful presentations and spot-on flavours. As for the beer selection, there’s focus on Québécois microbrewers from across the province, handled so carefully that even temperature control plays an integral part. If none of this is enough to tempt you, consider that this is one of best designed bars in the city.

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Few bars can boast being as excellently British as the Burgundy Lion, and that’s not just because football matches are on TV or the food here’s traditional. Upon entering, thirsty patrons can see its staggeringly large whiskey collection—the biggest in the province—prominently displayed above its bar, and the taps are always running. The space is pretty immense when considering its first floor indoor and outdoor spaces, a second floor equipped with its own bar and an indoor skylighted terrasse for high tea.

Unpretentious, yet educational: It's a hard thing to combine without one quality overpowering the other, but that's just the mix(ology) you'll find at Montreal's top source for both cocktails and cocktail supplies. Found through a secret door from Alambika's retail shop, the Alkademie is where they put their own cocktail product lines and drink savvy to the test and put it on display with classes, pop-up events, and private sessions. You can walk in and test them out by requesting classics, but really, just let their head bartender Kalina Cesar work her magic. Be sure to 

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Like the name implies, this is one of the premier Montreal locations for experimentation in mixology. Drinking here’s an educational experience when tasting any one of its cocktails, mocktails, shooters or 5 à 7 deals. Shifting its recipes with the seasons, the bartenders here are so devoted to their craft that they’ve developed their own product lines for ingredients that fit their standards. No particular part of the world of cocktails is sacred here, as they’ll serve up teapots full of buttered grog as much as tiki and flaming beverages.

While built first and foremost as a café, bar and conservas stop for its neighbours, Cordova has slowly and steadily grown to be an attraction for the city at large. Our money’s on their cocktails as the reason, as they’re pulling off the basics with as much precision and panache as they do its more original creations. One visit’s all it takes to see that owners Anthony Benda, Aaron Polsky and Elayne Teixeira-Millar are all well-heeled restauranteurs of the city; now that the food here is also picking up steam, Cordova’s horizon’s looking bright.

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In many ways more a laboratory than a bar, this bar from Jeremiah Bullied puts its best foot forward with craft beer and eco-friendly cuisine. Long-time Montrealers may recognize the chef's work from La Sala Rossa through the place's small plates, but they'll be—and just about anyone who grabs a drink here—pleasantly surprised by the wine lists that prioritize funk and fresh flavours care of Poinecaré's somm Hugo Jacques alongside a crisp rotating list of house-made beers. Now sporting a rooftop terrasse in the summer in Chinatown, this is a hidden gem.

The tavern look and feel’s strong at this microbrewery and pub, and makes a solid address for anyone looking for a bar devoted to beer. With its own brews on tap and visiting breweries being featured, ranging from the cool and refreshing to the heady and heavy, there’s something for everyone at this welcoming address. A major bonus comes from its well-rounded menu, including the poutiflette, a luxuriant take on the classic poutine best taken after more than a couple rounds.

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Locals might remember this spot as its former incarnation of a dive bar, and while it’s major (and we’re talking MAJOR) makeover might make cheap beer aficionados feel ostracized, trust us: That’s anything but the case. Built for the neighbourhood by a quartet composed of ex-Au Pied de Cochon chefs and bar veterans, it’s a stunningly beautiful space where the cocktail program receives just as much attention as the wine list and beer selection that includes as many basic ales as there are moustache-twirl-worthy IPAs. All that and a figurative bag of chips: You’ll have wasted your time here if you don’t dip into the food in the slightest.

This jovial location with a Vaudevillian design comes from a lot of skilled names on the Montreal scene, and that skill’s amounted to a lot of quality offerings. Looked to as a bar that comes with a stellar menu and raw bar, the oysters and foot-long luxury hotdog are common choices here. Most of all, their carefully selected wine lists of private imports that shifts regularly is what establishes this place as an excellent wine bar in the city, one that happens to mix up a damn fine cocktail as well.

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A basement speakeasy component to the wine bar Rouge Gorge, Le Royal makes a point of making the most of its intimate space lined with velvet and mirrors. Oysters and sparkling wines are but one reason why this Plateau spot gets packed, as their small but mighty selection of cocktails makes excellent use of their spirits. We recommend you pay particular attention to their curation of liquor coming from Québec and enjoy how they’re worked into recipes by mixologists Alexandre Beaudin and Dimitry Saint Louis.

This Parc Avenue wine bar has been a longstanding first-and-foremost selection for Montrealers looking for tasty and well-priced glasses and bottles, as well as grabbing on par simple snacks while they're at it. Owners Eric Bélanger, Michel Bergeron, Fabien Lacaille, Gabrielle Bélanger and Simone Chevalot have landed on a magical formula here of laid-back but attentive service with knowledgeable staff—we're almost of a mind to call it so down to earth that it's like the corner diner of wine bars in town, a place where we can relax by the end of the day or let ourselves get a little rowdy.

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Named after the fur warehouse that once occupied its space, Furco’s commonly known to anyone bound for downtown as a spacious and lively bar. Cocktails both classic and original feature prominently here, but one look around its room will reveal wine glasses in most hands. Whatever the variety of bottle you’re looking for, the selection is small but exceptionally chosen. It’s also a beautiful space, having been designed by Zébulon Perron, a local household name in hospitality and food interiors. Look to this one for beautiful times in a beautiful place.

After earning their stripes in bars both in Montreal and abroad, owners Eric Berlin and Jade Fortin Côté have settled into this spot that’s as smooth as velour. Long, impeccably chosen wine lists, cocktails and a menu by Grégoire Routy are all complimented by interior design by the up and coming Kyle Adams Goforth. Think of it all as a hybrid between a bistro and wine bar, where both snacking and drinks balance out nicely and act as a choose-your-own-adventure kind of establishment.

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Part of the unofficial microbrewery collection that’s forming in Montreal’s Little Italy, this artisanal taphouse is among the best the city has to offer for both its quality and selection. With 40 taps in total, all flowing with the work of independent Québécois brewers and collaborations with the bar itself, Vices & Versa is commonly looked to as the great place to taste and test. Sure, you can sip at some scotch, whiskey or wine as well, but a trip here isn’t complete without trying at least a couple beers.

As native Londoners Michael Belben and David Eyre put it, the term ‘gastropub’ has been increasingly bandied around without enough good food to back it up. That, plus offering an genuine pub experience with the most impressive collection of gins in town, drove the owners to create this local favourite. Sure, the food here is a definite plus, but coupling it with a frothing pint or a cool cup of gin from one of 19 national sources? That’s a win in our books.

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A microbrewery formed by a supergroup of five restauranteurs, chefs, and brewmasters, Isle de Garde gives a little bit of everything you’d want in a huge brewpub. 24 taps with beers sourced from across Québec and its own brewmaster Olivier Chest Dupras come together to form a multifaceted selection that goes from bright and sweet saisons to dark and brooding stouts. Props to the chef Marc-Aurèle Lussier here as well, who crafts some scrumptious ideas from the typical fare found in pubs elsewhere.

It’s one thing to gawk at this address’ stunning interior, but it’s the cocktail menus you should be paying attention to. With a relaxed hotel bar atmosphere on weekdays and a source of major parties on weekends, their blend of signature and classic cocktails are all crafted with a supreme level of attention. The level of class applied to the drinks arriving on your coaster is only matched by the amazing repurposing of a bygone tycoon’s personal manor.

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A 1920’s bar that specializes in whiskey and cocktails, the Bootlegger’s got heaps of fun to be had. With its tasteful use of jazz, swing and blues music alongside period decorations, this bar makes a point of pushing its theme a lot: A collection of cocktails named after famous mobsters, classic options, and a dizzyingly huge list of scotches and whiskies to choose from. To top it all off, this bar’s just as good for a bucket of beers and lounging as it is dancing along to the DJs playing electro swing.

When you're going to put a bar downtown, it had better be everything for everyone. Renard knows it, and they deliver with a full gamut of spirits, a festive atmosphere, happy hours we're always into, and signature cocktails that keep things fresh in the summer while comforting in the winter. The Village has nabbed itself a solid entry with this one, and proximity does make this one of our top picks for gay bars in Montreal, but make no mistake: It's welcoming and inclusive here. We'd expect no less from Marc-Antoine Coulombe, Isabelle Corriveau, Michael Domingue and Valérie Doucet—the same folks who created spot-on places like Palco in Verdun.

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Vinyl bars are coming into fashion in Montreal (we tend to be late on trends, sue us), and this one is leading the pack so far with its combination of spinning 2,500 records from the 1940s onward to a collection of cocktail recipes, a "famous" popcorn, and their pride 'n' joy collections of scotch and bourbon. Situated in Villeray, they also offer curated mircobrews and a small but mighty wine list to sip at while you're lounging in some pretty bang-on modernist furniture. By the way: If they're making punch? Order it.

A bar so small and hidden and unassuming that many feel it's best fit into the category of speakeasy, Bar A is the kind of spot you go to when you want to drink with some peace and quiet. Deemed the Plateau's "best kept secret" (sorry to spill the beans!), their beer and wine is well-curated and they mix a mean cocktail. There's little fussing about happening here, and that's why we like it: All the charm of a dive, but the svelte feel of a pro spot.

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Every borough in this city's got a pub in some shape or form, many of which fall into the ‘Irish’ or ‘English’ category. Not to knock those traditions, but Grumpy’s is exceptional in how it offers its own Montreal-style take. No nationalistic kitsch, no fancy cocktails, no gimmicks; just fresh kegs on tap for cheap, shots of whiskey, a stage to host folk jams on Thursdays, jazz nights on Wednesdays and visiting talent of every musical creed on weekends. Don’t come here expecting to have the most amazing night of your life; you come here because you want an honest, clean dive bar without any bullshit. Salt of the earth and all that.

Aboard this retooled bateau-mouche floating on the Lachine Canal, Montrealers and tourists alike enjoy grabbing one of its nautically themed cocktails or a glass of wine. As gimmicky as it may seem, it’s far from a tourist trap when considering how well recipes both classic and novel are executed. Open from late May to the first week of October, this 45-year-old canal boat’s one of the most unique bars in town to enjoy a hot day in the sun.

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The homegrown and homebrewed work of McAuslan Brewing has gone from a locally powered operation in 1989 to a far-reaching brand sporting dozens of beers. That’s the history. The real fun, however, is had in the beer garden attached to the brewery’s back. Facing the Lachine Canal and with a view of the Canada Malting Silos, it’s scenic area to relax and enjoy one of the taps after a day spent along the water. Open in the warmer months, there’s always its Annexe bar in colder months.

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