Food & Drink

The 11 Most Important Bars in Montreal

Published On 08/19/2015 Published On 08/19/2015
Le Lab | Katherine Sehl/Thrillist

After taking a tour through Montreal's Most Important Restaurants, naturally we're a little thirsty, so it stands to reason that we'd turn our attention to the city's most impactful, influential, or otherwise significant drinkeries. These are the bars which for one reason or another, make Montreal, Montreal.

Brutopia

Brutopia

Downtown
On any given night of any given week, some of the best live music in the city is playing at Brutopia, and it’s all free. Saturdays and Sundays are usually a bit more intense, featuring bigger bands. Forget Osheaga, you can get your fill of live music from the comfort of your favorite bar -- and that’s not even mentioning the fact that it’s one of the city’s pioneering brewpubs.

Katherine Sehl/Thrillist

Le Lab

Plateau
Le Lab might just make some of the best cocktails in the country, and if it doesn’t anymore, it certainly paved the way for bartenders to aspire to fancy techniques that hadn’t even crossed their booze-addled minds. It’s forever upped the level of mixed drinks in the city, and for that we are forever grateful.

SUWU

SUWU

Plateau
SUWU has played a huge part in the Montreal hip-hop scene. The tunes are constantly on point and even the drink names are rap infused, with cocktails like the Big Booty Ho and Wu-Tang. It’s a chill, relaxed vibe that’s perfect for a date as well.

Bier Markt Montreal

Bier Markt

Downtown
This place takes a spot simply for having the most extensive selection of beers in the city. Seriously, it’s almost dizzying. Walking into Bier Markt is like walking into a hoppy library. With over 150 different types of beers from 30 different countries, you’d need to be a regular there for years to try everything.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel

Plateau
Why it’s important: because you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better spot to bring an older date. Are you looking to woo someone who’s a little more, um, "experienced" than you? Take them to Dieu du Ciel to enjoy some quality conversation over a sweet cider or the patented coffee-beer hybrid Péché Mortel, which accurately translates to “Mortal Sin.”

Flickr/Vincci

Barfly

Plateau
This place is arguably the best dive bar in Montreal. Barfly won’t "wow" you with its ambiance or décor, but it’s the definition of a classic bar, equipped with good drinks, good music, and a roster of interesting characters. It’s the yardstick by which other dives are measured.

Ping Pong Club

Ping Pong Club

Mile End
Yes, when Ping Pong opened, it expanded the horizons for what a bar could, and should do in this town. After going here enough times, you’ll begin to feel that no night is complete without an intense game of ping-pong or foosball.

McLean's Pub

McLean’s Pub

Downtown
Hockey is important in this town, and no bar has treated it better over the last 20 years than McLean’s. There’s no better place to catch a Canadiens game. Why? Because of two important words: beer. Tower. Plus, if you know anything or have heard anything about hockey in Montreal, then you’re aware of how intense these games can get.

Flickr/Guirec Lefort

Les Foufounes Electriques

Downtown
Every city needs a bar that serves cheap beer. At Foufounes you can get merry with minimal change in your pocket, but that’s not the only reason there’s a line around the block, and why it’s always packed: it’s actually a damn good bar. And without it, Montreal would be a worse place.

Apt.200

Apt. 200

Plateau
Showing how sleek interior design can turn a bar into something more than that, the entire place is set up like a really nice apartment... an apartment that would belong to a guy who wears leather shoes and well-fitting pants and reads a lot. There are couches, plants, rugs on the floor, arcade games, and the VIP area is set up like a bedroom, equipped with an actual bed.

Else's

Else’s

Plateau
The Plateau/Mile End is pretty much a hipster paradise, and Else’s is its capital. This dive bar is famous for its classic ambiance, its impeccable staff, its quality drinks, and its fascinating menu. This place is a must for any foodie looking to have a relaxing night out and try some incredible, unique dishes.

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1. Brutopia 1219 Rue Crescent St., Montreal, H3G 2B1

This three-story pub on Crescent Street offers both classic (think Nut Brown Ale) and seasonal (Maibocks, Cream Ales, and Smoked Porters) suds, many of which are brewed in-house.

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2. Le Lab 1351 rue Rachel Est, Montréal, H2J 2K2

Located in the Plateau neighborhood, Le Lab has an extensive cocktail menu that changes regularly and churns out inventive concoctions like the Deer Hunter (Jägermeister, violet liqueur, and lime). It might not even be a stretch to say that Le Lab might just make some of the best cocktails in the country, and if it doesn’t anymore, it certainly paved the way for bartenders to aspire to fancy techniques that hadn’t even crossed their booze-addled minds. The bar is dimly lit and has the feel of an ol’ timey speakeasy, and if you don't like anything on the menu, the experienced "Labtenders" will be happy to mix up any classic 'tail, or something from their list of originals.

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3. SuWu 3581 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2X 2T6 (Plateau)

Inside SuWu, you'll find comfy antique sofas, pinball machines, and super-awesome drink prices that're all half-price from 5-7p. And if you're hankerin' for some eats, they have a menu loaded with tasty options like their amazing mac n' cheese grilled cheese.

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4. Bier Markt 1221, Boul René-Lévesque, Montreal, H3G 1T1

Their motto is “bier is beautiful”, and they couldn't be more right, with a huge selection of brews and a variety of European brasserie-inspired eats.

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5. Dieu du Ciel! 29 Ave Laurier Ouest, Montréal, H2T 2N2

This microbrewery and pub features beers infused with everything from hibiscus to coffee. One of the most popular brews: a creamy cocoa vanilla stout aptly named the Aphrodisiaque (ooh la la!).

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6. Barfly 4062 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Montréal, H2W 1Y8 (Plateau)

Barfly is the perfect Montreal dive bar to wet your whistle and enjoy some loud music and hipster stylings.

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7. Ping Pong Club 5788 Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2T 1S9 (Mile End)

This self proclaimed beer garden changed the nature of a night out in Montreal by making ping pong or foosball a nearly mandatory part of a good night.

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8. McLean's Pub 1210 rue Peel, Montreal, H3B 2T6

Housed in a building that was established in 1910, McLean's Pub continues serving up pub favorites like burgers, steaks, and sandwiches as it has done since the '90s.

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9. Foufounes Électriques 87, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montréal, H2X 1K5

Le Foufounes Électriques is a colorful concert venue/bar/nightclub in the Latin Quarter of Montreal.

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10. 3643 St-Laurent Apt. 200 3643, Blvd Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2X 2V5 (Plateau)

Apt. 200 is a loft party meets an old-school arcade, with a little reading nook that looks like it came straight out of a Sherlock Holmes book. It doesn’t make sense on paper, but works beautifully together, and you can head to the Plateau to get your fill of it.

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11. Else's 156 rue Roy E, Montreal, H2W 1M2 (Plateau)

A staple in the Plateau since the 1990s, this casual pub with a restaurant license draws loyal fans from all across the city.

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