FOOD AND DRINK
A Guide to Montreal's Impossibly Cool Cocktail Dens
Montréal may be famous for beer, but it’s no slouch when it comes to cocktails and wine either. Impossibly cool little cocktail dens have been popping up all over town recently – many of them boasting excellent cinq-a-sept deals – and the city’s already excellent wine bars are more packed than ever.
Bily Kün is at the top of most people’s must-drink list, so much so in fact, that its owners opened the nearby bar, Plan B, mainly to deal with the overflow. With its airport waiting lounge décor and light, refreshing signature cocktails, Plan B has developed a following of its own but quirky Bily Kün is still closer to the heart for most people. The lively and youthful room is still hopping every night with people quaffing back killer Becherovka and absinthe cocktails under the watchful eye of the ostrich head décor that adorns the walls.
354 Mont-Royal E, 514-845-5392
Dominion Square Tavern
This storied space dates back to the 1920s, when it was part of one of the most prestigious hotels in the city’s wealthiest neighbourhood, the Golden Square Mile. Unfortunately, scant evidence of the wealthy neighbourhood remains, since it was slowly abandoned in favour of other areas and dilapidated mansions were demolished to make room for high rises. Even the tavern is only half of what it used to be, given that some of the building was destroyed by fire. The tavern itself though, is a timeless and classic brasserie with a lively jazz soundtrack, a modern cocktail program, and a solid, meaty menu.
Rue 1234 Metcalfe, 514-564-5056
Le Mal Necessaire
Tiki’s back! About time, too. In fact, the real mystery is how tiki – a style of drinking that involves sturdy, delicious cocktails served in flaming pineapples with whack garnishes – even went out of style in the first place. Montréal’s in on the action at Mal Necessaire, a bar located appropriately enough in Chinatown. Sip on tiki and tropical classics, alongside other refreshing concoctions made from pisco, tequila, cachaça, and of course rum. Order up dumplings and wonton fries in the bar's incredibly sleek lounge or, if you can get a stool, at its hopping little L-shaped bar. A visit is practically a necessary evil.
1106 B Boulevard Saint-Laurent, 514-439-9199
Oenophiles need look no further than Pullman, one of Canada’s top wine bars, since it boasts one of the most perfectly-curated list of vintages by the bottle to be seen on this side of the Atlantic. Pullman doesn’t stop there though. It also offers interesting aperitifs, beer, and after-dinner brandy options to seal the deal after an evening of venison tartare, braised lamb, or port-steeped cheddar grilled cheese. Since everyone who works the floor is a certified sommelier, you can count on always being steered in the right direction.
3424 Avenue du Parc, 514-288-7779
Baracca Rhumerie & Tapas
Grab a perch at the quaint little bar at Baracca for a little foray into rum, the specialty of the house. There are about 50 different bottles to sample, originating from all over the world, some of which get more airplay than others since they’re liberally used in the creation of first-rate mojitos, which are in particularly high demand when the charming patio is open. Still, Plateau residents flock to the bar all year round, drawn in by the Latin-inspired tapas and cool songs spun by deejays who know how to set the mood.
1134 Avenue du Mont Royal Est, 514-525-7741
This article was originally published on August 1, 2015