Montreal, Quebec’s largest city and one of Canada’s top destination, has always been recognized as a fantastic city to go out. Its nightlife is very diversified with clubs, pubs, bars ans terraces. The legal age to go out is 18, which is a year younger than in the rest of Canada…and 3 years younger than in the US. There are events all year long and a LOT of Festivals (I can’t even name a third of them) !
What is very interesting for us is the whisky scene ! Even though there has always been a couple whisky bars/pubs in Montreal, it has exploded in the last years to offer a lot of choice. So here is my list of the best places to go, and why !
Pub Burgundy Lion – 2496 Notre Dame O
This pub is an institution in Montreal ! It possess Canada’s largest Scotch selection and you can have whiskies that can’t be found anymore. The food is great with more than decent prices. It goes from starters to salad, burgers and pie, and even fish. It has an English-like ambience with a few beers on tap, a couple cocktails and an ok wine selection. It is perfect for a combo meal&whisky. Don’t expect to party all night long there even if the ambience is very fun…this is not a night club, it’s a pub…and it’s where the greatest nights come along !
Perfect for : a date with your loved one or an evening out with friends.
Bootlegger l’Authentique – 3481 Boul. St-Laurent (2nd floor)
Honestly, my favorite bar in Montreal. Yes, I know the owner and I might have a bias. But with great places come great compliments ! A very good selection of whiskies with a lot of flights available. An extensive cocktail list. An ok beer selection. Awesome price tag. Then what makes it so great as what I have listed can be found in other bars across the world ? There is live music every night ! You get (electro)swing, rock&roll, hip-hop, jazz, blues…name it, they have it ! Add the very nice staff and the fact that the bar is not that big, and you get an ambience like nowhere else in the city !
Perfect for : a first date, a night out with friends, a music show.
Whisky Cafe – 5800 Boul. St-Laurent
One of the last place in North America where you can enjoy a decent dram and a cigar. You read that right : there is a cigar lounge ! The whisky selection is very good. A lot of rare bottles can be found, and at the right price (for the owner) you can even buy the bottle. The style is very classy. I have seen people dress with a t-shirt in the bar, but honestly you just want to put your 1930’s suit and be a baller !
The only problem is that the pros stop there. The prices are quite high compared to other bars. There is a 10$fee to bring your own cigar. Their cigar selection is mediocre (and expensive). But if you want to impress a client or look like you own a private jet, this is the place to go in Montreal.
Perfect for : a business meeting or a classy evening.
N sur Mackay – 1244 Mackay Street
N sur Mackay is a lounge with a lot of frenzy around it. The atmosphere is quite classy without being pretentious. It has a couple whiskies to drink neat, but the selection is more extensive on the cocktail list. What I like most about this one is its situation (downtown Montreal) and the in-between time you can enjoy the place ! Looking for drinks to pre-party ? Go there ! Looking to party all night long but you dislike clubs ? Go there ! The bottle service is very not expensive compared to other places offering the same service (60$ less give and take). Looking for a Wednesday drink paired to a quizz night ? Go there !
Perfect for : a wild night out, a good cocktail or a quizz night.
Pub l’Île Noire – 1649 St-Denis Street
L’Île Noire (Black Island) is another classic in Montreal. They have a VERY extensive whisky list and have added a lot of gin bottles too, diversifying the offer. The location is great as it is situated on St-Denis Street, where you can jump from one bar to another very easily. It has made a move in the past years, adding a big Gin section. The front room has a whisky-atmosphere, being a bit darker and smooth, while the back room has more light and “pure” lines, perfect for a gin tonic. The prices are fairly good and it is perfect to enjoy a dram, with friends, taking notes on your old school leather notebook.
Perfect for : a quiet dram or an after-meal dram.
Stogies Cigar Lounge – 2015 Crescent Street
It is technically NOT a whisky bar. But the selection is very good, the prices are right…and IT’S A FREAKIN CIGAR LOUNGE ! No cutting fee. Relax lounge. Cocktails, beers, whisky, vodka, tequila, gin…what do you want more ? You can go there in a suit&tie or a t-shirt and there is a small terrace. The location is quite exceptional : Crescent Street is renowned for it’s bar/restaurants/events scene in Downtown Montreal. You don’t have a cigar to pair with your whisky ? There is a small humidor you can buy from with ok prices. Otherwise, there are two great cigar shops at walking distance (Vasco Cigar for non-Cubans and La Casa Del Habano for Cubans).
Perfect for : drinking and smoking at the same time.
If you ever come by Montreal, let me know via my my Facebook, Instagram, E-mail or Twitter page, I will sure be glad to show you around !