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Terrasse Perché
Photograph: © Alison Slattery - Two Food Photographers - Tourisme Montréal

Booze with a view: These are the best rooftop bars in Montreal

Drink up high above the city street with the best in rooftop bars in Montreal, from high-rise hotels to swanky terrasses.

Written by
JP Karwacki
,
Amie Watson
&
Tommy Dion
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UPDATE, August 5, 2021: It's officially terrasse season in the city, and there's no better place to grab a drink than on the best rooftop bars in Montreal. Above the streets, you can enjoy the view and say cheers with your friends. Some of our original picks had to leave this list—Bar Pandore and SIX Resto Lounge are permanently closed—but believe it or not, there are new rooftop experiences in town (plus a couple we've neglected to celebrate for way too long).

Montrealers have an obsession with drinking at the best rooftop bars. The moment that spring even thinks about springing, we’ll be on one of the best terrasses in Montreal for sure—we earned it after a long, hard winter—but throw a rooftop into the mix? We’ll be downright delighted. From afternoons spent basking in the sun to bistro dinners above the city lights, we love them all for a lofty brunch, some of the best cocktails or a trip to one of the best gay bars; what can we say? Rooftop bars contain multitudes.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Montreal

Best rooftop bars in Montreal

Good news: No password is required to enjoy the electrifying atmosphere of newHaūs. Normally a speakeasy-style nightclub on Crescent Street downtown, things have taken a temporary and summery turn with guest DJs, summer cocktails and, above all, an open-air Tulum-style lounge. On the roof of the former Tokyo Bar, it's the most beautiful terrasse on the Main and—so far—the plan is that it will last all season.

This highly anticipated restaurant opening of 2019 will come with a 100-person terrace, complete with a raw bar brimming with. While a railing of plants creates a border around this Zebulon Perron-designed covered patio—think sleek, white sofas and wooden tabletops—Chef Marcus Samuelson’s brasserie menu breaks down the gastronomical walls between the places that make up his cultural heritage: New York, Ethiopia and Scandinavia. Expect it to be packed at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.

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When the sleek cocktail lounge in the renovated Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel announced in 2018 that it was going to run the third-floor terrace, the SAQ sold out of bourbon—alright, that’s not true, but the number of Old Fashioneds made à la Fairmont with Woodford Reserve definitely skyrocketed when cocktail-lovers started flocking to the hotel’s upper levels. Not into classics? No problem. The 28-page menu has a flavour wheel with 25 options from spicy to umami, sour, sweet and bitter.

Open from just 5 to 10 p.m., the communal tables at this hidden rooftop on top of the Société des Arts Technologiques are always in high demand and it’s first come, first served. You’ll want to get there early to join the after-work crowds sipping their way through a line-up of microbrews, natural wines and cocktails made with local liqueurs and seasonal fruit. Your soak in the sun and spirits can be accompanied by the incredible menu of the very talented chef Timothée Vielajus, where Quebec products are magnified by a frank, honest and fair cuisine.

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Located on the 9th floor of the impressive Humaniti complex blocks away from Chinatown, Terrasse H3 offers a breathtaking view of the downtown area. There's dinner indoors, but the lounge section will make you want to stay outside, especially since the small dining menu is full of seasonal dishes to enjoy—not to mention the cocktails and wine list by the glass. Don't leave without at least one dessert: All of chef Yann's creations are a must-taste.

Bivouac's rooftop terrasse is the hottest new spot in the Quartier des Spectables, with over 3500 square feet of urban jungle vibes, armchairs, high tables, a casual yet festive atmosphere, and an incredible view of the city. It's easy to see why this is the terrasse to discover this summer. Note that the dining menu, as well as the wine and cocktail list, are equally inviting, whether it's for an aperitif, for dinner or to spend a late evening as Montreal knows so well how to do.

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If there were a hierarchy in Old Port hotels, Nelligan would be at the top in terms of swank, but its rooftop terrace is all about fun. As the sun sets, dinner plates are replaced with bottles of Grey Goose and their usual accoutrements, which is when you might start wondering which is more sparkling: The Edison bulbs strung up above you or the fizzy pitchers of white sangria. What the space lacks in elevation it makes up for with an eye-level view of the Notre-Dame Basilica. Those begging forgiveness for overindulging the night before will appreciate return trips for brunches of benedicts and blackberry naan pizzas to go with watermelon mimosas. 

It takes cajones to have two different rooftop bars in a single Montreal hotel, but since you used to have to fight tooth and nail to get a seat on the Old Port’s William Gray Terrasse, many-a sigh of relief echoed like the Basilica’s bells when the Perché Bar-Terrasse on the hotel’s fourth floor rooftop opened. Hallelujah! Now you can sip an Ungava G&T in relative peace on the heated patio while enjoying a view of the Cirque du Soleil’s big-top tent and, if it’s a Wednesday or Saturday night in summer, maybe even some world-class fireworks.

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What more do you need to know than there’s a pool? Maybe that it’s heated? Or that it was the first rooftop swimming pool in Canada? Turns out there are lots more things to know, including that the hotel was built for Expo 67, meaning it was going for the whole streamlined/modern look, with a koi pond and lush gardens – which, coincidentally, is the view from the rooftop and poolside bar.

This Californian lounge’s got a stellar menu to go with its drinks, with poké bowls and ground duck and pork dumplings. Perché, the second terrace bar/restaurant at the William Gray Hotel, is an aloe-bedecked spot with a globetrotting wine list, summery cocktails and mocktails. A no-reservations policy after 4 p.m. gives you a better chance of snagging a seat.

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Owned by the same restaurant group as the Nelligan, this place is one of the buzziest 5 à 7 (happy hour) destinations in the Old Port, especially on Thursdays and Fridays when folks off the clock stick around for burgers and mushroom ravioli. They’re to be joined later by a dressed-to-impress clientele sipping raspberry mojitos. Earlier in the day, lunches are meant for lingering over chorizo Caesar salads and pricey cocktails.

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If you want to look down on Montreal from one of the highest points in town, you have three choices: Mount Royal, Portus 360 or Les Enfants Terribles Au Sommet. The first involves a hike up a large hill and the second is indoor-only,  making the sky-high location of Les Enfants Terribles the only heart-pumping dining and drinking option. This high-rise outpost of the Outremont bistro is both a bar and restaurant, but you’ve got to eat if you want to sit outside. Ties loosen as a younger crowd, ready to party, converges around indoor cocktail tables later in the evening.

This heated and covered patio atop the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel is one of the rare rooftop bars that takes reservations, which is important when you want to schedule a date with its plunge pool. Open April to December, the terrace temperatures here are never too chilly for their mojito or too hot for their pulled pork poutine.

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A tri-level nightclub, some folks might think the VIP lounge is where the action's at, but nope: This Village destination's best floor is its rooftop terrasse, hands down. Is it the magnificent views of the city skyline? The easy access to drinks? All of the good music with (not to knock anyone's tastes) the extra sweaty dancefloors on a super humid night? Maybe it's all of the above and more, especially when you count those Friday and Saturday wild times and Electro Patio nights that happen every Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight. We'll never tell. ;)

Located squarely on the corner of one of the city’s major crossroads for nightlife—Sherbrooke Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard—this open-air rooftop address connected to the boutique hotel Hotel 10 is one of the more exclusive clubbing locations in its immediate area. It also affords a spacious outdoor area where you can take in a view that’s got the best of both worlds: The low-lying buildings of neighbourhoods of the Plateau and Quartier Latin, plus the towers of downtown. Expect a line-up to get in on hot summer nights, and wait it out at their wine bar Le Bar20.

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It’s no birds-eye view of the city, but this second floor terrace overlooking Duluth Avenue is the best rooftop brewpub in the city. Throw in a house-brewed IPA or Milk Stout and some former fine dining pros serving everything from glammed up grilled cheeses to seasonal small plates described as nothing more than “Endive / Rose / Sumac” and you’ve got yourself a perfect Montreal afternoon, evening or brunch. Don’t miss the French toast.

Music lovers and skaters rejoiced when the former Sapphire night club’s two-floor dance club received ramps and a bowl, becoming the city’s premier skating bar. Lest we forget, this place sports a backdoor terrace, which feels like the apartment patio all Montrealers wish they had. It’s all over the top and off the rails.

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Muzique’s location on St-Laurent and Sunday night industry parties spinning R&B, top 40 and club anthems from DJ Joseph Jr.—plus VIP treatment for ladies—have long made it the place for partying with bottle service. The best part is that there’s spot to break off from the main party, a wooden rooftop patio with a sleek bar overlooking the street below.

If you couldn’t tell from the name, this Village four-floor LGBTQ-friendly dance club might be best known for its rooftop terrace. Good for drinking sangria while waiting for the cavernous downstairs dance floors to fill up, the patio is also handy for breaks once the crowd reaches capacity. There’s also a pool and hot tub, but those are mostly for show.

For the best drinks in town, check these out

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