There are some things that Montreal just does better than anywhere else, and it seems that opening new bars is one of them, because over the past year they've been popping up faster than chanterelles after a Quebec rainstorm -- but not all drinkeries are created equal, so we tracked down only the 11 best to open in 2014...

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Isle de Garde

La Petite-Patrie
With its beautiful décor almost entirely handmade by the six owners, a constantly changing selection of the best and rarest microbrews in Quebec, and some of the more impressive food we have tasted in a Montreal brasserie, it’s no wonder that Isle de Garde draws a crowd from across the neighbourhood -- and beyond. You can come by any day to sample the house English Brown Ale or the home-smoked pork, or visit on a Wednesday or Friday to taste a beer from a freshly opened cask.

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Le Slang

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Montreal is known as one of the mixology centers of the world, but newcomer Le Slang has already distinguished itself from the rest with an impressive menu and even more jaw-dropping drinks. From Monday to Saturday, head bartender Brynley Leach concocts incredible cocktails that challenge our taste buds and imagination, from Basil Sesame Caesar to an exceptional Old Fashioned. Take the rum and Cokes elsewhere.

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Fitzroy

Plateau
Tucked away on the second floor of a non-descript building on Ave Mont Royal is the freshly minted Fitzroy. With a great look that treads the line between industrial décor and island-chic, Fitzroy offers a beautiful view of the city, pool tables, big-screen TVs for watching the Habs, and two fully stocked bars for those looking for a classy, but laid-back afternoon.

Grenade

Grenade Bar

Gay Village
Tucked on a slowly gentrifying corner of Rue Ontario Est with only a simple sign bearing its name, Grenade does not look like much from the street. But step inside and you will find a beautifully modern spot, w/ mood lighting, and a stunning heated terrace that looks like it was transplanted from a spectacular Thai resort. The place is packed full on weekend nights, so come early if you want a spot to sip on creative cocktails or taste some Asian-inspired street food.

Biiru

Biiru

Downtown
There is no shortage of izakayas in Montreal, so any new Japanese bar opening in Montreal better stand out. Well, Biiru did just that this year with terrific food, a selection of Japanese beer, and an inviting, welcoming atmosphere. In a crowded scene where people go to izakayas to make an appearance, the quality and service at Biiru are outstanding.

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Brasserie Lorbeer

Mile End
Done up in copper and wood with an upscale steampunk feel, Brasserie Lorbeer is the younger, more approachable sister of Laurea restaurant. Try a signature beer-infused cocktail, fried chicken with smoked gravy, or a beer degustation sampler for some of the specialty beers Lorbeer has teamed up with local West Shefford Brewery to produce.

Anabel Bar et Vin

Anabel Bar et Vin

Mile End
Anabel Bar et Vin is where you go for a truly excellent glass of wine or cocktail, paired with a bite of food that actually is as good as it looks. This elegant bar became a best-of contender for the easy class, the $1 oyster nights on Thursdays, and fantastic menu which Chef Jose Mariano Crespo has put together.
 

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Le Mal NĂ©cessaire

Chinatown
With its shiny, neon-green pineapple logo, an unusual location in Montreal’s Chinatown, and some of the more tropical cocktails we’ve seen outside the Caribbean Islands, Le Mal Nécessaire is certainly making itself known. Then again, you pretty much have to if you’re going to make a Tiki bar succeed in the middle of a Canadian winter. Whether you go for a drink served in a coconut or a regular glass, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on offer at this unique joint.

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Pub Bishop & Bagg

Mile End
Bishop and Bagg makes the list for being an authentic, traditional British pub in the heart of St. Laurent. The beer here is great (including the house Burgundy Lion Ale) as are select wines, traditional whiskeys, and gin. Though they adamantly resist being called a gastropub, Bishop and Bagg also serves great, eclectic food, including homemade pickles, spiced nuts, and whole, 90lb pigs taken apart right there in the basement.

SpiritHouse Montreal

SpiritHouse Montreal

Old Montreal
When the popular Toronto cocktail lounge SpiritHouse decided to open a Montreal outpost, I imagine quite a few voices rose in cheer. Led by a mission to make the after-work martini de rigueur once again, the just-opened Montreal SpiritHouse is already making a splash as a classy 5-to-7 hangout. Here you will find seasonally changing cocktails, a focus on Negronis and pre-Prohibition classics, alongside well-made margaritas and an impressive selection of hard liquor.

Moose Bawr

Moose Bawr

Gay Village
You wouldn’t think that you’d need a Canadian-themed bar in the heart of the country, but according to the founders of Moose Bawr, you’d be wrong. This is a fun place to share a pitcher of sangria, grab a pimped-out hot dog, watch the game, or just laugh at the cheeky puns on the sign posted outside. And you don’t even have to be Canadian to get in.

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1. Isle de Garde 1039 rue Beaubien Est, Montreal, H2S 1T3

With its beautiful décor almost entirely handmade by the owners, a constantly changing selection of the best and rarest microbrews in Quebec, and some of the more impressive food in a Montreal brasserie, it’s no wonder that Isle de Garde draws a crowd from across the neighbourhood -- and beyond.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Le Slang 5669 Monkland Ave, Montreal, H4A 1C7 (Notre Dames Des Graces)

This Notre-Dame-de-Grâce drinkery has distinguished itself from the rest of the area bars with an impressive menu and even more jaw-dropping drinks, from a Basil Sesame Caesar to an exceptional Old Fashioned.

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3. Fitzroy 551 Avenue du Mont-Royal, Montreal, H2J 1W5 (Plateau)

Tucked away on the second floor of a nondescript building on Ave Mont Royal is Fitzroy. With a great look that treads the line between industrial décor and island chic, Fitzroy offers a beautiful view of the city, pool tables, big-screen TVs for watching the Habs, and two fully stocked bars for those looking for a classy, but laid-back afternoon.

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4. Grenade Bar 1603, rue Ontario Est, Montreal, H2L 1S5 (The Gay Village)

Tucked away on a corner of Rue Ontario Est with only a simple sign bearing its name, Grenade does not look like much from the street. But step inside and you will find a beautiful modern bar, mood lighting, and a stunning heated terrace that looks like it was transplanted from the best Thailand resort.

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5. Biiru 1433, rue City Councillors, Montreal, H3A 2E4

This Japanese izakaya features a solid menu that includes a shrimp and pork sausage Japadog, as well as a fine assortment of adult beverages.

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6. Brasserie Lorbeer 381 Avenue Laurier Ouest, Montreal, H2V 2K3 (Mile End)

Done up in copper and wood with an upscale, steampunk feel, Brasserie Lorbeer features signature beer-infused cocktails, a loaded menu (try the fried chicken with smoked gravy), and one of the best beer samplers around.

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7. Anabel Bar et Vin 361 Rue Bernard Ouest, Montreal, H2V 4H3 (Mile End)

This Mile End spot is where you go for a truly excellent glass of wine or cocktail, paired with a bite of food that is as delectable as it looks.

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8. Le Mal NĂ©cessaire 1106B, boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2Z 1J5 (Chinatown)

With its shiny, neon-green pineapple logo, an unusual location in Montreal’s Chinatown, and some of the more tropical cocktails outside the Caribbean Islands, Le Mal Necessaire has certainly made itself one of the premier destinations in the city.

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9. Pub Bishop & Bagg 52 St-Viateur, Montreal, H2T (Mile End)

This authentic, traditional British pub in the heart of St. Laurent serves up excellent beers, including the house Burgundy Lion Ale, as well as equally laudable wines, traditional whiskeys, and gin. Though they adamantly resist being called a gastropub, Bishop and Bagg also serves great, eclectic food, including homemade pickles, spiced nuts, and whole, 90lb pigs taken apart right there in the basement.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. SpiritHouse Montreal 244 Saint-Jacques Ouest, Montreal, H2Y 1L9 (Old Montreal)

At this Old Montreal haunt you'll find seasonally changing cocktails, a focus on negronis and pre-Prohibition classics, as well as well-made margaritas and an impressive selection of hard liquor.

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11. Moose Bawr 1817, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montreal, H3H 1M2 (The Gay Village)

You wouldn’t think that you’d need a Canadian-themed bar in the heart of the country, but according to the founders of Moose Bawr, you’d be wrong. This is a fun place to share a pitcher of sangria, grab a pimped-out hot dog, watch the game, or just laugh at the cheeky puns on the sign posted outside. And you don’t even have to be Canadian to get in!

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