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Photograph: Daphne Caron

Your guide to dating in Montreal

From wine bars to axe throwing, these top spots for dating in Montreal are sure to show you and your date a good time

Written by
Michelle Normandeau
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Dating in Montreal can be tricky, especially when it comes to finding the perfect spot to bring a first date (or second, or third, for that matter). Lucky you, in a metropolis as vibrant as this one, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the best things to do with romance in mind. Whether you’re looking for one of the best romantic restaurants to enjoy with your +1 before a make out sesh with one of the best Montreal attractions in the background, or you’re looking to mix things up and try something a little more off-the-wall and adventurous like the best escape rooms, we’ve compiled a top-notch list of places to try. Forget the stress of planning the perfect date night and let us play wingman.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Montreal

The best of the city under one roof

Time Out Market Montréal

Before you start mapping out your date night out on the town, consider dropping into Time Out Market. Get the evening off to a great start by dining at any of the market’s 17 eateries composed of this city’s best chefs and restaurants, coupled with beer, wine and cocktails from some of Montreal’s best mixologists or a class taken at the Cooking School. Once you come for the food and drink, stay for the entertainment—weekends yield some fantastic DJ nights to dance the night away.

Restaurants & bars

Vinvinvin
Photograph: Ménard Dworkind architecture & design

Vinvinvin

In case the name didn’t give it away, this one is for the wine lovers. While it may be a relative newcomer to the Montreal nightlife scene, this organic-forward bar has exploded in popularity since opening its doors in the summer of 2019. Its thoughtfully crafted lists include some local selections from Québec and Ontario among other wines primarily imported from Central Europe, all served in a 70-seat space that’s perfect for a casual yet classy date spot. Keep in mind that they don’t take reservations, so have a plan B in place if you plan to go during the weekend (hint: check out what the best wine bars in Montreal are right now).

Café Parvis
Photograph: Café Parvis / @cafeparvis

Café Parvis

Whether you head to Cafe Parvis for a quick drink with a Tinder date or are planning for a full meal with your significant other, this charming café offers a cozy ambiance perfect for intimate conversations. If you fancy dating in the daylight—or need an idea for where to go after a successful night out—they’re open for breakfast and lunch throughout the week and brunch during the weekend, when the menu extends beyond pastries and enfrijoladas. It’s simple: Dine during dinner and share one of their tasty gourmet pizzas and a bottle of red with your date. If you’re looking to have a couple drinks and spend a little one-on-one time under dimmed lights, you can’t go wrong here or at their neighbour Furco.

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Dieu du Ciel!
Photograph: Courtesy (source)/Keegan Berry

Dieu du Ciel!

A neighborhood staple since 1998, the brewery bar is perfect for those in the mood for a relaxed evening with some of the best beer in Montreal, either spent on their street side terrasse during the summer or inside during the colder months. This pub largely brews their own beers in-house, but you may also find some exotic imports on their drinks menu from around the world. From light blonde brews to tall dark stouts and every kind of beer in between, if you and your date love a good beer, you won’t regret this one.

Le Mal Nécessaire
Photograph: Phil Nadeau

Le Mal Nécessaire

It’s dark. It’s trendy. Its cocktail list is extensive, its neon décor abundant. This place is great bet to take first dates wherein you haven’t nailed down exactly what the other person is into yet (and its proximity to Chinatown restaurants is an added bonus). Take a seat either by the bar or at one of their stunted tables and hash out that first-date conversation over a tequila-infused Siesta cocktail while the DJ plays in the corner. Who knows, if things go well enough, you two might even end up splitting one of the bar’s signature Dragon Boat drinks by the end of the night.

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Le 4e Mur
Photograph: Courtesy Le 4e Mur

Le 4e Mur

For any and all fans of bygone eras, Le 4e Mur is an experience that you aren’t likely to forget. It’s one of the best speakeasys in Montreal that blends a Sherlockian aesthetic with the 1920s charm of Midnight in Paris, complete with a secret entranceway that leads down into what feels like the set of your childhood Clue board game. Once seated, choose to participate in a game of ‘whodunnit?’, as your drinks’ menu doubles as a murder mystery game. The cocktail list is creative, and depending on your choice, you may be in for a smoky surprise.

Snowbird Tiki Bar
Photograph: Snowbird Tiki Bar / @snowbirdtikibar

Snowbird Tiki Bar

Ready to hit the tropics? Snowbird Tiki Bar has been artfully furnished with the finest authentic vintage tiki decor, making any thoughts of Montreal’s brutal winters wash away upon entering. From plastic palm trees to 1960s-style princess wicker chairs, strands of glowing lights hung above the bar to a massive retro painting of Elvis, Snowbird is the perfect place for a playful date and a fruity sharing cocktail, and of course, showing off some killer dance moves.

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Casa del Popolo
Photograph: Casa del Popolo

Casa del Popolo

In the mood for some live music, a couple of beers, and a good time? Casa del Popolo is likely your ideal date spot. A low-key bar that brings musical talent to its stage on any given night, we recommend checking their event calendar to stay up-to-date with their schedule to make sure that the music will be up you and your date’s alleys. During the summertime, wander out back and take a seat on their outdoor terrasse – it’s cozy and romantic if it’s not too crowded, and can make for a great first date.

Head outdoors

Marché Jean-Talon
Photograph: Kelly Jacob

Marché Jean-Talon

Ride your bicycle or Bixi down to Little Italy with your special someone for a day at Jean-Talon Market. Pick up a few things for dinner amidst the stalls of fresh fruit and veggies or wander the endless aisles of flowers and houseplants tended to by friendly merchants. Montreal’s oldest market is open year-round and is always a great place to grab a bite to eat with its countless understated gastronomic gems studded throughout the marketplace. Make it romantic by feeding one another samples from the fresh fruit stalls.

Parc Mont-Royal
Photograph: Les amis de la montagne

Parc Mont-Royal

Are you an active couple up for a mountainous run, or want to take in a scenic view of the city from the mountain’s plateau? How about a calming walk around Beaver Lake, which has some of the best ice skating in Montreal during winter nearby? Parc Mont-Royal offers all of that and more. A vast outdoor space in the middle of the city, it’s the perfect temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Keep in mind that on Sundays during the spring and summer, Montreal’s infamous Tam tams take place—expect a lot of impromptu musicians taking to the base of the mountain with lots of drumming all day long.

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Botanical Garden
Photograph: Marie Deschene/Tourisme Montréal

Botanical Garden

Why buy your date a bouquet of flowers when you could bring them to the Botanical Garden instead (just kidding, still buy the bouquet)? This curated outdoor space features displays upon stunning displays of Mother Nature’s finest work. If you’re looking truly enjoy each other’s company while being peacefully surrounded by over 22,000 plant species in more than 20 themed gardens, there’s not a more romantic spot than the Botanical Garden. You know what they say: Sometimes you’ve just got to stop and smell the roses.

Atwater Market
Photograph: Eva Blue

Atwater Market

A date spent wandering around Atwater Market makes for a morning or afternoon well spent. A market filled with gourmet cheese and chocolate shops, bakeries, butchers, local produce vendors, and restaurants throughout the week in the summer, it’s a bustling place to spend a date. Grab a coffee and Portuguese nata tart at Brulerie Aux Quatre Vents before wandering the stalls of fruits and veggies at any time of year. During the summertime, pop in at Havres aux Glaces for a refreshing ice cream cone and lounge at one of the picnic tables. Once you’ve tried enough of the good grub, talk a long stroll along the Lachine Canal to walk it off.

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Picnic at Lachine Canal
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Christian Barrette

Picnic at Lachine Canal

Grab your picnic blanket and fill a basket with some fresh fruit, cheese, a couple of sandwiches, and a bottle of red, and you’ve got yourself a stellar evening ahead of you. Lachine Canal is one of the best spots in the city for a romantic picnic, with plenty of green space along the water to snuggle up for the day with your special someone. Of course, a picnic is best enjoyed during the spring and summer months; there’s nothing better than lying in the sun with the breeze off blowing off the canal to bring you and your date some cool relief. Plus, this makes for one cost-effective date—that is, of course, if you don’t spring for a swan boat ride ($30 for an hour) available near Atwater Market.

For the more adventurous

Rage Axe Throwing
Photograph: Rage: Axe Throwing

Rage Axe Throwing

Whether you’ve both recently gotten over a fight or you’re simply looking for a more extreme activity to do together, consider heading to Rage for an adrenaline-inducing (and certainly memorable) date night. The premise is simple: Take out your rage by throwing axes at a wall. After all, nothing screams ‘romance’ more than whipping heavy, dangerous weapons across a room at full force, right? We can hear the wedding bells already.

Allez Up
Photograph: Allez Up Climbing/Escalade / @allezup

Allez Up

Sometimes there isn’t anything better than monkeying around, literally. Allez Up is known around Montreal as being one of the best indoor rock-climbing gyms in the city, making it a perfect spot to bring a partner for a sporty date. Whether you’re both beginners or skilled climbing veterans, this gym has various walls designed specifically for different skill sets. Gear up and head on over—they’re open until midnight every weeknight! It’s among the best gyms in town that (while not the only one) offers some action before the, ahem, action.

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A/Maze Escape Room
Photograph: A/Maze / amazemontreal.com

A/Maze Escape Room

What better way to see if you’re destined to make it as a couple than by putting your teamwork skills to the test in an escape room? Pick which kind of location you want to try to escape from, from the Prison to a Lost Temple to a Laboratory and tons more. We recommend doing this as a double date idea, as it’s a case of ‘the more the merrier’ with this activity!

More dating ideas in Montreal

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