The French may be known for their fine wine, and on that front, Montréal doesn’t disappoint. However, the city is also known for its cutting-edge mixology culture, its bartenders whipping up some of the coolest, most photogenic cocktails in the country. It boasts plenty of microbreweries for those in search of artisanal craft beer, too.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to choose from in the city when planning happy hour or after-dinner drinks — speakeasies, elegant bars, hip watering holes, themed venues, cozy pubs. We’ve narrowed it down to a list of our editorial team’s favourite spots to help you prepare for a gorgeous (and maybe even a little tipsy) evening out.
Address: 6966 Saint-Denis, Montréal
Must Try: A Montréal IPA
Created by two ex-chefs from Au Pied de Cachon and two established Montréal bar figures, this drinkery is serving up beverages just right. Its menu features a range of beers, wines, and classic cocktails alongside a tempting selection of bar food.
Address: 1240 Phillips Square Street Montréal, QC
Must Try: Sesame!
Directly connected to the newly-opened Birks Hotel, Henri Bar-Lounge is an opulent establishment that impresses with its extravagant decor and creative cocktails. The glistening space features a large, circular bar that is set upon herringbone hardwood floors. Long, curvy peach banquettes line the room and floor-to-ceiling windows complement the glamorous space.
Address: 1886 Centre St, Montréal
Must Try: Marine Dream
Known to many as Montréal’s prettiest bar, Milky Way delivers in visual aesthetic with plenty of alcoholic clout to back it up. The ones behind the Montréal bijou are the same individuals who created the Barroco Group. The decor of this space is truly out of this world (pun intended); designed to resemble the cosmos, the staircase leading down to the space is outfitted in twinkling stars and neon. The main space is fabulously glamorous, with herringbone floors and a large natural stone bar lined with leather stools. The cocktail menu, developed by established mixologist Christophe Beaudoin Vallières, features sophisticated bespoke creations inspired by Miami circa 1980s.
Address: 512 Atwater Ave, Montréal
Must Try: The Smoke Show
If you’re looking for a relaxing atmosphere with excellent cocktails, then Atwater is for you. Tucked in an alleyway on the corner of Saint-Henri, this establishment features cocktails inspired by the south — think hibiscus, jalapeño, and agave. The space itself was designed by the Gaulay brothers, who approached the project with French discotheques in mind. The black and white marble bar makes a statement alongside the fuchsia banquettes, which anchor the space. All of these elements are what make Atwater Cocktail Club an incredibly chic venue to enjoy a Truffle Maker (one of our personal favourites).
Address: 2175 Rue de la Montagne #100, Montréal
Must Try: Ask for a custom cocktail tailored to your preferences
Maison Cloakroom bar is known as a “bespoke speakeasy” located inside a menswear store and barbershop. This bar has accrued some of Montréal’s most exceptional mixologists, who pour up tailored and sophisticated cocktails. It’s about as swanky as it gets here, from cocktails featuring hand-carved ice to the design of the space itself, which exudes an air of elevated luxury.
Address: 900 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montréal
Must Try: The Negronen
Located in the Fairmont’s Queen Elizabeth, Nacarat has shaken up Montréal’s cocktail scene ever since it opened its doors in 2017. Nader Chabaane, self-taught bartender and mixologist, has curated a 28-page menu featuring a tasting wheel that allows individuals to determine their own flavour profiles. He is a talented artist when it comes to crafting complex cocktails and their non-boozy counterpart, mocktails. This cocktail haven features just as impressive décor; inspired by the ’60s, the space is replete with dazzling lights, a terrazzo floor, royal blue leather banquettes, stone marbling, a grand bar, and cognac leather accent chairs.
Address: 630 Rue Cathcart, Montréal
Must Try: The Shiro Cocktail
Locating Gokudo is no easy feat, which makes this place quite literally a hidden gem. Behind the hidden doorways lies a yakuza-themed bar known for its balanced Japanese-inspired cocktails and sleek interiors. Each cocktail here features at least one Japanese ingredient — think shiso leaves, nori syrup, and of course, sake. The formal den-like atmosphere is rounded out by bartenders donned in bowties and white jackets.
Address: 600 William St, Montréal
Must Try: Kokachin
Basement bars aren’t typically known to pique the interests of patrons, but such is not the case for Montréal’s seductive basement watering hole, Nhậu Bar. The space carries a distinctive vibe with paper lanterns hung throughout, low seating, and decorative chachka’s that add the perfect amount of kitsch. Mixologists Maxime Daraize and Tao Zrafi are the talents behind Nhậu’s pan-Asian inspired cocktail menu. You can find plenty of concoctions that feature sake or suju and southeast Asian ingredients such as tamarind, miso, and sesame.
Address: 436 Rue Saint-Francois Xavier, Montréal
Must Try: Basil Smash
Located in Vieux Montréal, Boho is an ideal venue to enjoy tropical cocktails in a Miami Art Deco atmosphere. This colourful bohemian bar features turquoise leather banquette seating, palm leaf wall covering, a green-and-white striped ceiling, and pink fluorescent lighting to tie it all together. As for the drinks, Boho has a large selection of brightly coloured cocktails to round out the bar’s Miami vibe.
Address: 403 Rue des Seigneurs, Montréal
Must Try: Strawberry Fields Forever
Maxime Perrault and Jessica Goulet are the duo behind this modern French cocktail haven. The establishment sits in a former garage that had been transformed by architect Maurice Martel and FX Studio Design. The gorgeous space features high tables, white bar stools, tan-leather chairs, lush hanging plants, and plenty of natural light that floods in from the high apexed glass ceiling. The cocktails here are equally stunning; Tao Zrafi is the talent behind the beverage offerings and alters the menu seasonally to feature only the freshest ingredients.