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Honey Martin
Photograph: @melromes

The best pubs in Montreal right now

Sip pints, knock back Jamie, grab snacks and catch up with your best mates at any one of the best pubs in Montreal

JP Karwacki
Isa Tousignant
Written by
JP Karwacki
Isa Tousignant

Whether it’s for a cold pint at the height of summer or a cozy place to warm your bones with whiskey, the best pubs in Montreal are good for a few rounds at any time of year. It’s where you’ll find a complete cross-section of Montrealers, with students and punks drinking elbow-to-elbow with office workers and retirees. If you’re looking for the best bars in Montreal or fancy speakeasies in Montreal with DJs spinning vinyl, you’ve come to the wrong place: This where to go for live music, some of the best beer in Montreal, some shots of whiskey and some of the most relaxed bar vibes in town.

Full guide to the best bars in Montreal
Best speakeasies and hidden bars

Where to find the best pubs in Montreal

Burgundy Lion
Photograph: Courtesy Burgundy Lion

1. Burgundy Lion

Opened in 2008, this isn’t the oldest establishment with skin in the pub game, but one visit to it and you’ll immediately know why the Burgundy Lion group has all but perfected this style of bar: Three floors high, equipped with an inner courtyard and a solarium for high tea in Montreal, football match screenings that position it as one of the best sports bars in Montreal and a massive whiskey selection alongside fresh pints and a solid English breakfast? How about events like cocktail competitions and fundraisers for local communities? Cheers, mate: This one’s our favourite in town right now for a classic pub experience with the right amount of bells and whistles.

Photograph: Tracy Martin

2. Hurley's

One of Downtown Montreal’s legacy pubs, this Irish pub on the southern half of Crescent Street’s boozy strip is a focal point of good beers, good company and good times. Spaciously spread out across two floors, the upper floor’s where you grab drinks and chat while the lower one features regular nightly programming of folk artists, Irish musicians, open mics and more. The bars inside feature long lines of taps, but it’s all a no-fuss selection preferred by those who could care less for hoppy experimental IPAs brewed by mustachioed hipsters. This is chiefly a place for good, honest pub fun.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Steve D.

3. Grumpy's

Ask an in-the-know Montrealer where to find a solid pub to just grab a cheap, fresh pint downtown and this is where you’ll likely be sent. It’s a purely Montreal affair; while they’ll pour a proper Guinness and gladly top up a platter of Jameson shots for you, there isn’t any Irish/Scottish/English kitschy bric-a-brac and there’s only a single TV that’s shoved into the corner. By Montreal and for Montreal, the focus here is on your company in the early afternoons and evening, and then maybe the live events, pub quizzes and more that will take over the stage at night.

Wolf & Workman
Photograph: Courtesy Wolf & Workman

4. Wolf & Workman

While it’s a proper tap house with a Victorian-style design, the bartenders here sling mean shakers, the wine list—of all things!—is well-curated and the food far more than a greasy afterthought. Fresh Porchetta roast with your pint perhaps? Maybe a duck Bolognese poutine with an herbaceous gin and tonic? Boozy brunches on the weekends? Yes, yes and yes.

Bishop & Bagg
Photograph: Daniel Esteban

5. Bishop & Bagg

Bishop & Bagg gave the Mile End a fresh pub that featured a massive gin selection alongside some tasty menus you can’t find at the restaurant and bar group’s other locations. It can at times be a victim of its own popularity, with crowds from the nearby Ubisoft studios taking tables to scarf down kimchi hot dogs and pints at lunch and weekend nights replete with parties, but these aren’t bad things. This place gives the people what they want: A fresh-yet-proper feel to what a pub can be and doing a damn good job of it.

Breweries are among the best bar creators. When you live, eat, drink something like beer, it’s a no-brainer that you’re capable to creating to perfect place to drink it. We’re only docking marks here because their tap selection—while it is among the best beer in Montreal—is more or less focused on Pit Caribou getting high on its own supply. That said, this is still an undeniably sleek place with immaculate brews that opened in the Plateau in 2016 to a fanfare you could hear all the way from their birthplace of L’Anse-à-Beaufils.

Honey Martin
Photograph: @melromes

7. Honey Martin

If you’re looking for a neighbourhood watering hole with all the right trimmings of a classic pub, this is where you go. It’s small, but that makes it intimate, employing a solid roster of bartenders that keep you good company in between serving every local writer, musician, lush and industry worker who rolls through for cold beers and warm whiskey. However, if you’re coming from outside NDG and aiming to make a night of it, the earlier you plant yourself on one the stools, the better.

Photograph: Brutopia

8. Brutopia

A local pub known for a fine combination of the beers they brew in a perfectly pleasant pub experience, Brutopia’s location on the lower half of the Crescent Street’s bar strip might suggest it’s a just a student haunt for cheap drinks, but there’s more to it than that. The beer itself comes in a range of flavors comparable to an ice cream parlor (their Raspberry Blonde, Brit Tea or Bluet come to mind), the live music is well curated, and three terrasses with three separate bars are but some of the touches that make this a more than solid spot.

Pub McCarold
Photograph: Pub McCarold /

9. Pub McCarold

Serving its neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges since 2004, this place takes top marks for how it keeps its kegs fresh, serves up finger-licking specialties like a creamy stout mac’n’cheese, and has that wonderful, comforting pub feel alongside TVs in ever which direction to look to keep score on a Habs game between sips. Newcomers should note the vibes here are relaxed when it’s slow—sometimes really, really relaxed—so try to get on their wavelength instead of furiously posting one-star reviews online.

Ye Olde Orchard
Photograph: Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill (PLATEAU) / @YooPRA

10. Ye Olde Orchard

A Montreal-born chain of Scottish pubs with locations throughout the island, each address Orchard holds has garnered a loyal neighbourhood following. With drink specials on the reg, live music and a consistent friendly service, it’s an endearing and enduring business. Hit the downtown spot for game night shenanigans, the Plateau spot for all-night-every-night good times, the NDG spots for boozy brunches with breakfast poutines—whichever one you pick, there’ll be more than silver linings.

Lord William Pub
Photograph: Lord William Pub /

11. Lord William Pub

Located inside of an old iron works building in Griffintown by locks of the Lachine Canal, one of the best ways to experience Lord William is coming in for early Caesars that lean extra—dressed with bacon, shrimps or huge hot peppers—before grabbing a brunch of fried chicken and pancakes with a Bailey’s custard, or just dipping into pints and cocktails on its secluded terrasse.

Photograph: McKibbin's /

12. McKibbin's

A Montreal-born chain of Irish pubs, it’s a local establishment that’s successfully spread its wings around town because it does just about everything you want in a modern-but-classic pub experience: Greasy carbs to snack on, pints on pints, live music every night of the week and prominent Irish pride that’s evidenced by things like a countdown to St Patrick’s Day on their website.

Le Vieux Dublin
Photograph: Le Vieux Dublin / @VieuxDublin

13. Le Vieux Dublin

Billing itself as the city’s oldest Irish pub (which we’ve yet to confirm ourselves), this establishment smack in the middle of Downtown Montreal has all the trappings you’ll want, from beer to burgers and live music, with one exception: The selection of scotch here is massive. We haven’t gone comparing bottle counts with other bars in town, but however many they have, scotch aficionados alone have more than enough here to keep them coming back.

Pub West Shefford
Photograph: Pub West Shefford / @pubwestshefford

14. Pub West Shefford

Among all of the Montreal bar maven Éric Le François’ achievements in town with various co-owners on various projects, Pub West Shefford is the most solid pub experience. Bringing the Bromont-based brewery to sudsy life as a popular bar for crowds of Plateau residents, the beer selection’s a solid Quebec product we’ll drink any day of the week. A lot of local musicians and comedians take the spotlight here, and extra points go to their vintage vinyl shop open during the day.

Brass Door Pub
Photograph: The Brass Door Pub / @TheBrassDoorPub

15. Brass Door Pub

Cheap, good grub and frosty pints in a convenient location make this watering hole a reliable standby at just about any time of the week. Among every pub in Montreal—and trust us, there’s a lot of them—there so many that stumble in at least one ‘what makes a good bar’ category. This one easily hits a solid 6 or 7 out of 10 in every category at least, and often exceeds expectations.

Le Sainte-Élisabeth
Photograph: Pub Le Sainte-Élisabeth

16. Le Sainte-Élisabeth

The word’s long been out in town about this pub’s gorgeous terrasse. Despite its off-the-beaten-path location, so-so menu of takeout food served by a nearby restaurant (it’s as weird as it sounds for newcomers) and a small but sturdy selection of taps, no one can argue that this is by far one of the most beautiful places in town to drink during the hot summer months. While we might sound critical, really, do you want more than cheap pints and comforting surroundings in a pub? This one’s got both in spades.

Le Blind Pig
Photograph: Le Blind Pig / @barleblindpig

17. Le Blind Pig

This neighbourhood bar serving east enders first and foremost, it’s a bar we’ll end—or start—any night of the week at with its cheap ($3!) beers, cocktails, pitchers of ‘gria and a menu full-to-burst with damn fine burgers, poutines and more. You can easily rely on this address to provide a good time with its slew of events taking place throughout the week like live karaoke, local comedians, and naturally occurring parties on Fridays and Saturdays.

A tried and true classic Montreal pub, Ziggy’s almost feels out of its current time and space, located on the blockbuster bar side of Crescent Street. Go in, however, and you’re greeted by a personable bartender who keeps the taps flowing. Ask about the history while you’re there—the bar bears decades to a ‘if the walls could talk’ degree, said to be a choice watering hole for famous Montrealers like Mordecai Richler, Pierre Trudeau and Leonard Cohen through their friendships with the owner.

Photograph: EtOH Brasserie

19. EtOH

This large brewpub on the corner of Saint-Denis and Jarry offers 20 brews on tap, mainly either housemade or local. It’s fancy in that they serve up their beers at very specific temperatures—4°C, 8°C or 12°C for the IDEAL sipping experience—but otherwise it’s downhome, cozy and loud with chatter, like all the best pubs should be. The large space is homey and spills onto the street with intimate outdoor tables from April to November.

Photograph: @BarWaverly

20. Waverly

The retro soundtrack is part of the draw, but the location is just sheer perfection: this huge space is smack bang in the middle of Mile End, kitty corner with the Ubisoft building and generally at the centre of the huge after-work droves that now mill around the neighbourhood. Come at 4 pm to beat the rush for tables, and clink glasses over snacks like wagyu gyoza, cauliflower wings and fried pickles.

Miss Villeray
Photograph: Stephanie Foden

21. Miss Villeray

Tucked on a side street not far from Jarry Park, this neighbourhood pub (since 1960!) has a particularly attractive roadside terrasse in the summer because of the residential surrounds. It’s great for its dependable basics and reasonable prices—it doesn’t reinvent the cocktail wheel, but it makes a mean martini and one of our favourite Long Island iced teas in town. Sip your tipple with a side of mini pogos or one of their flatbread pizzas.

Vices & Versa
Photograph: Vices et Versa / @vicesetversa

22. Vices & Versa

This Little Italy mainstay is a destination for hungry beer lovers, with its 40-plus beers on tap serving up independent Québécois brewers, and a food menu that draws dinnertime (and brunch) crowds every day of the week. With its Frankenstein sort of space, which started in one business front, then spread to another, then a third, it’s got a ton of nooks and crannies and charming spots to settle in and call your own.

Cheval Blanc
Photograph: Marco Campanozzi

23. Cheval Blanc

The Centre-Sud wouldn’t be the same without Cheval Blanc, a brewer and pub that serves as occasional art gallery, makeshift cinema and show bar to serve its creative clientele. The old school burgundy décor is as comforting as a drunken hug, and the roving weekly selection of draft brews always holds some nice discoveries—come back again and again to try the next batch.

Le Darling
Photograph: Alison Slattery

24. Le Darling

In the style of an English pub, Le Darling opens at 10 am and serves coffee and breakfast sandwiches, Benedicts and oysters by day, plus drinks galore to see you well into the night. They specialize in ciders, and alongside an above-average wine list they mix up exciting house cocktails (try the Cherri Cherri Lady or their take on the Bellini, with notes of chai). This all-day place at the heart of the Plateau presides over one of the nicest strips of the Main, away from the clubs but still central to everything.

Red Tiger
Photograph: Bobby Léon

25. Red Tiger

This Vietnamese pub in Centre-Sud will feed your soul as well as your stomach, with private import beers, delectable house cocktails that feature pandan, five-spice and citronella, and a street-fare menu that goes miles beyond your average pub. Our fave orders include the pillowy mini crêpes with chicken and shrimp, and the chicken wings, lacquered with a classic Vietnamese fish sauce concoction that makes you crave more, more, more.

La Succursale
Photograph: Courtesy Brasserie artisanale La Succursale

26. La Succursale

This hopping (and hoppy) Masson brew pub and its busy street-side patio are a go-to for the Rosemont scene, both because the animated space is a fantastic place to discover the latest by a wide range of Quebec breweries, but also because it doubles as community centre with amateur comedy nights, quiz nights, karaoke nights and fun DJ dance nights that don’t require you to change out of your comfy jeans.


27. Nestor

A true neighbourhood bar, Nestor has drawn the locals in droves since it opened pre-Plaza Saint-Hubert renovations, way back in 2015. It’s got all the staples, from karaoke Sundays to pub-quiz Mondays, not to mention a great selection of Quebec beers, cheap shots (as in affordable, not below-the-belt) and fun snacks like Fritos loaded with chilli and Jamaican patties. The warm months mean one thing: sidewalk terrasse.

Photograph: Courtesy Benelux

28. Benelux

We love its outpost in Verdun, but this downtown location at Sherbooke West and Jeanne-Mance is our destination for a good ole pint when we’re in the vicinity of Quartier des Spectacles. It’s swarming with McGill students on most nights of the week, which adds a youthful exuberance that’s kind of addictive. The artisanal brews range from bitters to stouts and pilsners, the ideal thirst quenchers when you’re tucking into a pulled pork panino.

Photograph: Courtesy Réservoir

29. Réservoir

It’s a Plateau go-to and has been for decades. The two-storey space (with extra cute second-floor terrasse half the year) on Duluth isn’t the most aesthetic in the whole neighbourhood, but it’s cozy and it’s got a few good tables if you’re lucky to score them before the crowds. The beers are delish and pair well with the stylings of the stellar kitchen dolling out steak tartare and mushroom-sage spaetzle. 

30. Broue Pub Brouhaha

Wholeheartedly devoted to beer, this Rosemont pub (it’s got an outpost in Ahuntsic too) fills its taps with both its own brews and dozens of flavours from local breweries—plus there are dozens more in cans and bottles. If you find yourself in a state of decisional overwhelm, start with something from their smokehouse: ribs, duck wings, smoked meat, it’s all amazing.

Photograph: McLean's Pub / @mcleanspubmontreal

31. McLean's

Sometimes a mozzarella stick just hits the right note. With two locations on Peel, both in the thick of things, McLean’s is a typical, friendly, vibey pub with dark wood everything and an attractive tin ceiling. Down a pre-game Guinness (it’s walking distance from the Bell Centre) or nurse a few Jamesons as you watch the Habs on the flatscreens from the comfort of your Windsor back pub chair.

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