A Montreal hipster is a complex creature. You’ll find them playing old-school arcade games, riding mechanical bulls, or rapping along to '90s hip-hop ironically, but like, totally not ironically. In salutation to their cause, we've given a gluten-free power-ranking of the 14 hipsteriest bars in the city, which paradoxically will mean that the true hipsters can no longer hang out at, like, the top five. So, sorry about that.
14. Burgundy Lion
Portraits of two-headed animals on the wall? Check. Bulldog in top hat painted onto a metal door? Check. Sticky pudding while watching the Habs or British football ? Absolutely. Burgundy Lion’s British hipster vibe does not end there. Their fascination with whiskey has led it to having one of the grandest collections in North America. It currently holds over 400 whiskeys and looking to expand that number. Take that, Brooklyn.
13. Bar Le Jockey
Most Montrealers assume hipsters are confined to the Plateau alone. But no! Rosemont Petite-Patrie has been seducing hipsters with Bar Le Jockey -- walls covered in wood and brick, a hockey game playing in the background, and genuine flair. Definitely request an original creation from the bartender (ahem, mixologist) like the Smokey Caesar; with Tabasco, chipotle, dehydrated jalapeños rehydrated in tomato sauce, Karnatzel sausage, and Montreal steak spice.
12. BAR inc.
The first of many hipster joints in the Plateau, BAR inc. is a dive bar with balls (disco balls that is). Mirrors on the ceiling, exposed brick, and decorative garage doors adorn the bar. And one thing the bar is known for is its five beer bucket specials, or as they're known to hipsters, beer cheapness that puts PBR to shame.
Apartment 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 for the gourmet hipster, every Thursday, Apartment 200 will be shucking oysters and offering Champagne for happy hour.
A difficult sell for the bio-hipster, this bar revolves entirely around bacon. Drinks are made with bacon-infused vodka and are garnished with bacon roses. Everything on the food menu includes bacon, incl. the 100% bacon hot dog, bacon caramel donuts, Jäger poutine with bacon, and the Brutus salad... which comes in a bowl made of bacon.
While pairing old-school hip-hop with a speakeasy doesn’t sound doable, En Cachette has proved that you can have your 10-year-old Laphroaig whiskey from a vintage couch and some Notorious B.I.G. and still look super classy doing so.
8. Bílý Kun
Ostrich heads adorn the walls, and during the holiday season, each ostrich -- both the normal-looking ones and creepy ones -- get their own Santa hat. If that isn’t enough, try Bílý Kun’s (pronounced Billy Coon) apple absinth martini, made naturally with German sun-ripened apple schnapps.
7. Nacho Libre
Yes, this place has a Nintendo corner, where you can play games like Star Wars Episode I: Racer and Diddy Kong Racing, and yes, it is dominated by people in skinny jeans. Add to this the swing seating, and the Lucha Libre wrestlers on the walls, and you have yourself a bona fide hipster bar.
If you ever wanted to go to a bar and say “I would like my drink in a 1L Mason jar and I want Goldfish crackers with it, please”, as you hum along to some '80s rock and Motown, then this is it. Most drinks come in the aforementioned 500ml/1L Masons, and this season’s list is focused on Wild Turkey Kentucky bourbon and gin.
5. Le Lab
This is the place where hipsters go to have their drink knowledge blown out of the sky, with mixeds like Jerky Lab Jack, which tastes like beef jerky and comes under a mini clothes line with a clipped piece of homemade beef jerky... and this is just the start of its hipster-trapping (and award-winning) cocktail program.
4. Chez Serge
Most will recognize Chez Serge’s mechanical bull from the Montreal Canadiens’s mascot Youppi! losing a bet with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. Besides bachelor party goers and a sad Youppi!, Chez Serge is filled with tattooed hipsters looking to drink from sand pails followed by rides on the bull.
A pool table, great music, walls with elk heads, and a photo booth are just some of the reasons why Korova is always full of the too-cool. Black-rimmed glasses and neon colors abound, and if you want to blend in, just ask the bartender for the Jenga set and some shots.
Why is this the second-most popular hipster spot? Big in Japan Bar is a secret. To find the bar, you must go to the corner of Saint-Laurent and Rachel and look for a gray door with no signage. Once you open the door, separate the red curtains, and you’ll be transported to a Japanese-style speakeasy. Taking from the Japanese custom, the ceiling has hanging whiskey bottles with the names of the individuals who have purchased them and will come back to finish the bottle.
Ever wanted to get your hair cut and enjoy a drink at the same time? The Blue Dog Motel is not a motel, but it is a bar and a barbershop. Before heading to the bar section, hipsters will schedule the Royal Deluxe treatment, which includes a haircut and a hot towel shave with their choice of either whiskey or beer.
1. Burgundy Lion2496, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal
2. Bar Le Jockey1309, rue St-Zotique Est, Montreal
3. BAR inc.250 av. du Mont-Royal E., Montreal
4. 3643 St-Laurent Apt. 2003643, Blvd Saint-Laurent, Montreal
5. Brutus1290 Beaubien Est, Montreal
6. En Cachette Speakeasy1765 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal
7. Bílý Kun354 ave. du Mont-Royal Est, Montréal
8. Nacho Libre913 rue Beaubien Est, Montreal
9. Le Lab1351 rue Rachel Est, Montréal
10. Chez Serge5301, boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
11. Korova3908 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
12. Big in Japan Bar4175 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal
13. The Blue Dog Motel3958, boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal
This British-style pub and restaurant doles out a variety of brews and liquors, and they have lengthy menu with options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
This Rosemont Petite-Patrie bar is a hip haven, with walls covered in wood and brick, a hockey game playing in the background, and special drinks like the original Smokey Caesar; with Tabasco, dehydrated jalapeños rehydrated in tomato sauce, Karnatzel sausage, and Montreal steak spice.
Located in the Plateau, BAR inc. is dive bar with balls; disco balls that is. Mirrors on the ceiling, exposed brick, and decorative garage doors adorn the place, so stop by and order one of the beer bucket specials with nachos during a hockey game for $20.
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.
Head to the Plateau to visit this drinkery where drinks are made with bacon-infused vodka and will have guys feeling the romance with their garnishes: bacon roses. The awesome and quirky menu does not end with drinks. Everything on the food menu includes bacon, like the bacon caramel donuts and the Brutus salad, which comes in a bowl made of bacon.
This speakeasy features a happy hour that runs well past 7p, and outside of that, you can snag a pair of pints or a handcrafted specialty 'tail for $10 until 10p ANY night of the week.
Located in the trendy French neighborhood, Plateau, this friendly watering hole is a local favorite and is decked out with an entire wall of... yup, you guessed it... ostrich heads!
When you find yourself in a place called Nacho Libre, you have no idea what to expect, and you probably never expected it to have a Nintendo corner where you could play games like Star Wars Episode I: Racer and Diddy Kong Racing. Once you finish playing, you could sit in a swing, look at some Lucha Libre wrestlers on the walls, eat some Mexican food, and have some beers.
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.
This is one of the better spots in the city to come and watch a game on their numerous TVs and grab a drink. And if you're feeling extra adventurous, take a crack at their mechanical bull.
If you're a fan of dancing and sweet music (and really, who isn't?), check out Korova, which also has one of the coolest bar features ever: an old 7-Up machine converted to spit out PBRs.
Located just up the street from their resto with the same name, Big in Japan Bar doles out classic 'tails, but you'll probably let curiosity get the best of you and try their absinthe fountain.
Ever wanted to get your hair cut and enjoy a drink at the same time? The Blue Dog Motel is not a motel, but actually a bar and a barbershop. Before heading to the bar section, schedule the Royal Deluxe treatment, which includes a haircut and a hot towel shave with your choice of either whiskey or beer.