I was feeling a little under the weather this weekend, so rather than going out, I figured I would just have to write about it. On our way out of Le Robin Square last Friday, we asked the owner for the best places to get our drank on. We really lucked out– asking her was one of the best things we could have done! We were expecting maybe one or two bars, but she wrote us up an extensive list of places including the distinguishing characteristics of each. The list proves how vibrant the Montreal drinking scene is! Belly dancing, arcade games, cocktails? Sold! I was really happy that we decided to ask because while I had a few bars in mind thanks to Montreal blogs and travel guides, I really wanted to explore the drinking scene like a local. We wanted to avoid the expensive tourist traps and try places that would give us a real feel for what the city’s all about
We ended up leaving the list at the Airbnb apartment as our contribution to the many maps and tour guides. Hopefully the next visitors will use it!
Here’s the entire list–
Apartment 200– Cocktails + arcade games in Plateau Mount Royal
Velvet – Club, Old Montreal
Santos– Old school hip hop + tapas Old Montreal
La Distillerie #1– Mixology, Plateau Mount Royal
Randolph- Board games + bar, Latin Quarter
Cafe Gitana– Belly dancing + hookah, Latin Quarter
Apartment 200- We were enticed by “arcade games and cocktails” so we tried Apartment 200 that first night. It was AWESOME and reminded me a lot of Ace Bar in NYC’S alphabet city. The space is huge and it’s beautifully decorated. It’s literally a massive apartment on the second floor of a building on one of Montreal’s most bustling streets. While the cocktails were good and the beer was cheap, what really made this place awesome was the collection of arcade games! They had games like pacman, NASCAR racing, Mortal Combat and my favorite, the free throw machine. (I whooped Ben’s butt!) I don’t care how cheesey you think this is. Have some drinks, split a pitcher of beer and I guarantee you’d be down to play too! Also worth noting: Apartment 200 has DJs and turns into a club during the late night hours!
EditDistillerie #1– Disclaimer: we had to wait for at least 45 minutes to get into La Distillerie #1, but it was worth it. The reason for this wait? There’s no standing room. You either have a seat at a table or at the bar, or you aren’t getting inside. It was frustrating while we were waiting in the cold (but the woman working the door gave me a blanket to wear!) but once we saw the scene inside we knew this place was worth the goosebumps. This trendy joint has a crazy cocktail menu and it’s organized by taste! The waiter was super helpful when we talked through what cocktails we should try. They were AMAZING. So refreshing and artfully crafted. They also came in adorable mason jars, so… sold.
Randolph- After dinner at Burger Bar Crescent, we headed over to Randolph for some fun on our last night in the city. This place is AWESOME and completely unlike any place I’ve ever been to. You don’t go to Randolph for the food and booze- you go for the board games! They literally have hundreds of board games for any type of gamer. My biggest fear: what happens if we don’t know how to play the game? (Let’s be real- I couldn’t even tell you how to play Monopoly) Luckily they had us both covered. Randolph actually has “gamemasters” who pick your brain to figure out what kind of game you’d be interested in. The gamemasters bring you the game and then walk you through the instructions. How on earth they know how to play ALL the games, I couldn’t tell you. What I do know is that if you’re looking for a chill, but FUN night, you should give Randolph a shot! Try: “Kamisado” and “Words on the Street”
Le Mal Necessaire – This bar wasn’t on the list, but it may have been my favorite place! I don’t have any pictures from here, so I hope you’ll just take my word for it! It boasts an EXTENSIVE cocktail menu (their most popular are served in coconuts!) with options suitable for any palate! The scene was really cool. Situated in a Chinatown basement, Le Mal Necessaire is a casual “tiki bar” that features bumpin’ deep house tunes in a candlelight setting. At around 12 they started playing some hip hop/house music mixes (starting with ‘One Dance’!) It definitely felt like a local place, which I really liked! Try the “painkiller” and the “perfect storm”.