The 17 best Montreal cocktail bars to find the perfect drink
Whether you’re looking for a spot to unwind or a place to celebrate with friends, Montreal has plenty of fantastic cocktail bars to keep you coming back for more.
It’s hard to know where to go for a drink in Montreal. But there are some things to keep in mind when deciding where to sip your next cocktail.
There are plenty of great places to choose from, but this list should give you a good starting point. Check out our list of the 17 best cocktail bars to find a perfect date for you.
Best Montreal cocktail bars
Rare are the hotel bars that focus so much on the guest’s senses as does this one. When Nader Chabaane’s 28-page cocktail menu with a rotating flavor wheel, ranging from spicy to sour, umami to sweet to bitter, was introduced here, it caused quite a stir.
There’s no way to claim to be a true cocktail connoisseur in this city until you’ve been to this location.
2. Atwater Cocktail Club
It used to be a complete impossibility to find a quality drink around Notre-Dame and Atwater. Later, the Atwater Cocktail Club opened next door to the diner-bistro Foiegwa, which it shares a kitchen and an alley with.
Take advantage of Christophe Beaudoin Vallières’ ever-changing (and always fascinating) cocktail menu by arriving early on Fridays and Saturdays to avoid long lines and a bouncer.
From smoked cocktails served in bell jars to buckets of liquor doled out by the ladleful, there’s nothing here that they won’t try.
3. The Coldroom
In this dark, secluded, brick and stone-walled basement of a tavern, there are certain to be some good moments.
In addition to being one of the best speakeasies in the city, this establishment employs a team of top mixologists to create its drinks.
When they’re not winning national cocktail competitions and creating seasonal cocktails for their menu, it’s one of the most sought-after jobs for local bartenders.
The location is meant for sipping and kicking back, not getting down with your friends and getting down with the music.
4. Nhậu Bar
This speakeasy in Old Montreal, located beneath the Vietnamese restaurant Hà, has an Asian tiki vibe.
Local cocktail impresarios Maxime Daraize and Tao Zrafi’s limited menu is heavy on saké, soju, amari, teas, herbs, and spices, all of which can be found on the menu.
Favorite drinks here include the Do’rice (a blend of Sake and Campari served in a miniature Taiko drum), as well as the equally flavorful conch shell and buddha statue-shaped group cocktails.
Sichuan peppercorns, strawberries, and blood orange provide a special touch to the Do’rice.
5. Mayfair Cocktail Bar
Tea drinks and live jazz are sure to catch the curiosity of anybody who attends. Our response: We have no desire to learn about them.
The checkered floors and chandeliers of this British-themed bar complement the cocktails and the tiers of appetizers served on them.
We recommend the Green Velvet, which contains gin, absinthe, gyuokuro tea, celery-coriander mousse and cucumbers, and keep in mind that as the night wears on, the bar transforms into a club, replete with bottle service and accompanying DJ performances.
6. Bar Palco
For 46 years, Verdun’s restaurants were only allowed to serve alcohol with a meal when Prohibition was abolished in Verdun in 1919.
It would be another half a century before a single pint could be enjoyed, and much longer yet before the first famous cocktail could be prepared in Verdun’s Bar Palco.
Bar stools are becoming increasingly difficult to come by these days. It’s all about the pitcher cocktails and the two-step beverages that can be had for a steal.
7. N Sur Mackay
If you’re near the Concordia campus and looking for a dive bar with friendly bartenders, micro-distilled ingredients, and an impressive collection of scotches, where should you go?
Here. N Sur Mackay is the most underestimated downtown haunt for lo-fi cocktails, especially when you don’t feel dressed up enough for classier businesses or just want somewhere more broodingly dark.
Think elderflower and matcha, toasted marshmallows, rum and spices.
8. Le Mal Nécessaire
Upon the opening of Montreal’s first tiki bar in 2014, revelers from all over the city flocked to Chinatown in quest of rum-soaked concoctions served in pineapples and coconuts.
Whereas most cocktail menus focus on excessively sugary and fruity concoctions, this underground hotspot makes the most of its ingredients with a creative drink program.
Several of the bar’s most popular drinks have been around since its inception, and for good reason: Mal Nécessaire and Chia Fresca are two examples.
9. Le Lab
It was at Le Lab that Montreal’s first high-quality cocktail bar opened its doors, and it was also the city’s first place to serve flair cocktails.
Despite moving to the Quartier des Spectacles, the bar’s broad and inventive cocktail menu continues to draw a considerable clientele.
Consistent quality is evident in all of the bar’s daily happy hour specials and other offerings. Bar Wars, the venue’s continuing flair competition, is well worth a return visit for a selection of cocktails.
10. Big in Japan Bar
Candlelit and film noir-inspired, this Main Street hangout is one of the best-kept secrets on the whole Plateau. For regulars, any place with whisky bottles hanging from the ceiling receives our blessing.
Some classic souring options, from grapefruit to lime and huge punch bowls of spiced rum shochu, ginger and mint tea that cost $40 at happy hour? Once you discover this new hangout, you’ll never want to leave.
11. Bar Le Jockey
This La-Petite-Patrie neighborhood pub is one of the few that provide fantastic cocktails while also showing the game on TVs.
Sip on a traditional Aviation while rooting for the Canadiens or taking in some French storytelling on Sunday nights as part of Les Dimanches du Conte.
When it comes to the Made With Love competition, Le Jockey’s bartenders often compete, therefore it would be nice if you helped them practice by ordering a unique drink from the menu.
12. Paperplane MTL
Despite the fact that this Saint-Henri pub has a cocktail menu priced at $10 per mixed drink, you won’t be disappointed after just one sip.
It’s one of the few places where the savings are really passed on to you, the consumer, so stop by for an inexpensive drink at happy hour or a pre-party cocktail at the speakeasy-style bar Broken Coconut, located downstairs.
13. Dominion Square Tavern
Indulge in the expertly prepared Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs, or the classic G&T, created with your choice of booze and house-made tonic, while soaking in the chic ambience.
There are just traditional cocktails and a few beers and ciders on the drinks menu, and you have to order food to drink, but that’s not an issue since the food and beverages are both so good here.
In addition to Scotch eggs and Welsh rarebit on a large Ploughman’s dish, we also have an Absinthe rinse with potato salad, deviled eggs and cheese. Unfortunately, the one drawback is that you must eat and drink at the same time.
14. Bar Kabinet
During the summer, the coffee bar transforms into a cocktail haven equipped with a lovely terrace. The Russian-themed cocktails or one of the bar’s several Amari options are great ways to have a good time.
Biodynamic wines are also available for those who choose to abstain from booze. Datcha, the little nightclub on the other side of the Plateau, is the place to go when the music becomes a little too raucous.
15. Bar George
Visitors to this Victorian mansion’s bar come for both the decor and the traditional drinks.
Formerly a private gentlemen’s business club, this location now houses a boutique hotel that retains many of its original features, such as crystal chandeliers and grandfather clocks.
Drink Oysters Rockefeller with a Dubonnet drink in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, or get a little wild with a Lady Stephen No.1 cocktail (sparkling wine, rum, pineapple, green tea).
16. La Distillerie
With three Montreal locations and a younger demographic seeking $19 Hurricanes, this sweet and rainbow-colored concoctions in mason jars attraction has been around for many years.
It’s all for a good cause: The drinks on the menu are tasty, and they’re organized into categories such as powerful, fruity, refreshing, and classic, each with a unique alcoholic punch.
17. 132 Bar Vintage
Ahuntsic’s favorite cocktail bar features an extensive variety of classics and seasonal concoctions crafted with fresh food from the Jean-Talon Market, as well as house-made purées, syrups, and shrubs.
Inevitably, all that drinking will lead to drunken Jenga with their merry bartenders, in which the loser pays for his own drinks. When it comes to Jenga, the more you drink, the worse you get. Calculate the results.
That’s why we compiled our list of the top 17 Montreal cocktail bars. Our team of expert bar staffs take pride in offering the best drinks Montreal has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for something sweet and fruity, something stronger or something that will keep you going throughout the night, our list of the top 17 cocktail bars in Montreal has something for you.