DIEU DU CIEL – Montreal’s microbrewery scene has taken off in recent years and Dieu Du Ciel! in Mile End is widely considered top dog. Packed with a young, francophone crowd, it’s an unpretentious bar with a rotating menu of microbrews. You’ll find everything from classic ales to rich stouts such as Peche Mortel.
LE CHEVAL BLANC – An icon of Montreal’s brewery scene, Le Cheval Blanc in the boisterous district of Quartier Latin is a lively, easygoing place with a friendly all-ages crowd, smiling bartenders and an outdoor patio for summer sessions. It has about 10 drafts on hand, all brewed in house, including a fruit beer, wheat beer and an Irish-style red ale.
ISLE DE GARDE – This buzzing amber-lit brasserie in Little Italy is a hit with beer lovers for its changing selection of unique microbrews on tap. Friendly bar staff dole out Belgian-style farmhouse ales, American-style IPAs, creamy stouts, and one-of-a-kind brews. There’s also a good comfort-food menu.
LE SAINT SULPICE – Several terraces and a sprawling back garden make this student favourite in the Latin Quarter a top spot for drinks and chats. It’s spread over four levels in an old Victorian stone house and also includes a cafe and a disco. The music changes with the DJs and is anything from hip-hop to rock and jazz.
TERRASSE NELLIGAN – As the sun sinks over Old Montreal, this delightful patio is the perfect spot for a mojito. It’s above the heritage Hotel Nelligan and serves a full menu for lunch and dinner, including premium cuts of meat and fresh fish, which are expertly prepared to order on the outdoor grill. The rooftop terrace has splendid views over the St Lawrence River and the city’s port.
TERRASSE PLACE D’ARMES – The summertime rooftop terrace above the boutique Hotel Place-d’Armes is a requisite stop on the nightlife circuit if you’re visiting in the sunny months. Enticing cocktails, eclectic cuisine and a fantastic view over Old Montreal’s Place d’Armes and the Basilique Notre-Dame never fail to bring in the beautiful crowd.
LE LAB – Cocktails are in vogue in Montreal and Le Lab in the city’s bohemian Plateau Mont-Royal district serves some of the best. Knowledgeable ‘labtenders’ pride themselves on wildly inventive elixirs and can whip up beautiful concoctions to suit your taste – don’t be surprised if liquid nitrogen is involved. The setting is stylish but fun.
LE MAL NECESSAIRE – For some of the city’s tastiest cocktails, look for the neon-lit green pineapple in Chinatown and descend the stairs to this bar hidden along pedestrian-filled St Laurent. Fruity drinks are tops here, especially the Abacaxi mai tai, served in a pineapple. The no-nonsense Chinese restaurant upstairs supplies a simple bar menu.
LA DISTILLERIE – Excellent cocktails, friendly bartenders and an easygoing crowd are the order of the day at La Distillerie, which has three branches across the city, in the Latin Quarter, Plateau-Mont Royal and Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. The vibe is relaxed with communal tables and the colourful cocktail concoctions are served in jars.