The bar scene in Montreal is dynamic-and ever-expanding, meaning that there are plenty of options for whatever kind of night out you’re looking for, in whichever neighborhood you happen to be in. From laid-back to upscale, here is a selection of the coziest bars in Montreal to visit for a winter pick-me-up.
Big in Japan is one of Montreal’s speakeasy-inspired bars, located in the Plateau neighborhood. It’s a bit difficult to locate, given its unmarked door that is very nondescript, but that’s part of the secretive appeal of this venue. With its low lighting, well-dressed waiters reminiscent of the 1920s, menu of whiskey and cocktails, and jazz-blues soundtrack, Big in Japan makes for a unique and elegant night out.
Sparrow is a cozy, vintage-styled spot in the Mile End of Montreal that serves weekend brunch (including cocktails) as well as operating as a bar through the rest of the week. Cocktail offerings include Blueberry Pisco Sour, Blood Orange Mimosa, and Bourbon Lemonade—among others. With daily late night drink specials after midnight, this is a popular spot on any day of the week.
Bar Henrietta on Laurier is a small and stylish pub that serves as a popular evening lounge for locals, who come for the range of drinks and Euro-style menu of nibbles. The décor is cozy and minimalist, perfect for a cold winter evening. Wine and cocktails are the main drinks to be had, with a full menu for each. They also serve fresh oysters.
This homey English pub is located in downtown Montreal, and it’s full of Anglo memorabilia to oggle at as you enjoy a whiskey or tap beer. There are large screens for watching soccer matches, and they offer dishes for all meals—including afternoon tea. Popular Quiz Nights are held year-round on Monday evenings.
The Spanish-inspired Santos has been around since 2007. There is a range of creatively-designed nibbles, along with an extensive drink menu covering everything from cocktails to craft beer. Latin DJs perform throughout the year, making this a fun and lively night out from high summer to the icy depths of a Montreal winter.
Though on the pricier side of Montreal’s bar scene, Taverne Square Dominion in the heart of Golden Square Mile is a sophisticated bar that has been around since 1927. With vintage décor and rows of chandeliers, the Taverne is a great choice if you’re interested in taking a step away from the university crowd that often dominates the city’s central bars. They offer a range of wines and beer, to accompany the fine dishes.
La Distillerie has been a Montreal institution since 2010, with three locations across the city (referred to numerically). La Distillerie No. 2 in the Plateau is a dimly-lit, low-ceilinged bar in the Plateau that offers a casual atmosphere with a creative and rotating selection of seasonal cocktails. La Distillerie No. 2 also recently opened a hostel above the bar, called Le Bed & Cocktail, a cozy space with the aim of bringing people together and allowing visitors to explore the city like locals.
Located in Mile-Ex, HELM is a chic microbrewery that serves inventive cocktails and re-imagined comfort food in addition to their in-house brewed beers. Quebec ciders and American wines are also on the menu. Creatively, the name of the bar is an acronym for Houblon (Hops), Eau (Water), Levure (Yeast) and Malt. From the houseplants hanging in the windows to the polished wood tabletops, HELM is a cozy retreat for an after-work drink.
Barraca is a go-to rum bar with a small food menu reminiscent of Spanish tapas. It has a relaxed atmosphere, and if you’re coming in a large group you can simply order a bottle of rum from the wide-ranging selection and choose your own mixes.
Found in the Mile End, Dieu du Ciel is open seven days a week until 3 am. Considered one of the top brewpubs in Montreal and beyond, their beer menu is updated continuously. There are always 15+ creative craft brews on rotation. You can choose your favorites, or try something new every time you walk in the door. The drinks are also cheap, generally ranging from $5–7 for a beer. They also have a select food menu (the nachos are a must-have snack). Popular at any time of the year, DDC is always brimming with patrons.