Letting loose

Drink, dance, and make mistakes with our guide to Montreal’s hottest bars and clubs.

Dancing with the Stars

As any boy band singer, reality TV star, or Glee cast member would tell you, dancing is a total must on any hot night out. So, where do Montreal’s hot shots head when they need to bust a move? Korova (3908 St. Laurent) is a dim, dingy, and dance friendly bar that’s become a mainstay for many McGill students. Monday nights are always bumpin’, as are the infamous motown nights on Thursdays. For a solid Friday night groove, many of Montreal’s party kids head to The Playhouse (5656 Parc) to break a sweat at UpYours! or Faggity Ass Fridays, a couple of queer-positive dance parties that will undoubtedly get your booty shaking.

Cheap thrills

Whether they’re saving money for a multi million dollar divorce or for tuition next semester, celebrities and students alike need a cheap drink every now and then. Else’s (156 Roy Est) is a prime escape for McGill students looking for a couple of low key drinks that won’t break their bank accounts. Plus, with a menu of tasty treats and free wifi, Else’s is an A-list spot at any time of day or night. And when it comes to dirt cheap booze, few places do the the trick like Verres Stérilisés (800 Rachel Est), where a pitcher won’t cost you more than a song in your heart and about seven bucks.

Local celebs

Here’s a secret revealed to ya! Montrealers don’t just like drinking beer, some of them make it as well! If you want to drink like a local, head to Dieu du Ciel (29 Laurier Ouest) for some of the best hometown brews around. Reservoir (9 Duluth West) is another local brasserie perfect for star sightings, especially if you’re seated on their rooftop terrace, which has a clear view of every constellation in the sky.

Out of the closet, on to the dance floor

Montreal’s Gay Village is one of the most famous around, with tons of places to see and be seen. For drag shows it’s hard to beat Cabaret Mado (1115 Ste. Catherine Est), while one of the most popular bars catering to the lesbian scene is without a doubt Le Drugstore (1366 Ste. Catherine Est). If you’re looking for a big-budget blockbuster kind of night, head to the multi-level Sky Pub Club (1474 Ste. Catherine Est), or Unity Club (1171 Ste. Catherine Est). These clubs are geared largely toward gay men, but still manage to attract diverse crowds.

MTL music: beyond Celine Dion

In Montreal’s bustling music scene, affiliated venues Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent) and La Sala Rosa (4848 St. Laurent) are two of the hippest hot spots in town. Offering a bodacious bevy of independent and alternative rock shows, stay tuned to these hoppin’ joints to catch a glimpse of a few big names as well as the next big thing. Casa del Popolo also holds regular DJ nights, while Thursdays at La Sala Rosa’s main floor restaurant feature live Flamenco performances along with some top-notch tapas. Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon Ouest) is a popular North end haunt, tailor made for enjoying a beer along with some indie beats. Le Cagibi (5490 St. Laurent) is a popular Mile End study spot among students in the know, but in the evenings the back room is transformed into a delectably intimate concert venue. Many A-list bars, such as Le Divan Orange (4234 St. Laurent), also often play host to bands, so a tune to enjoy, or a musician to stalk, is never far away.

Character actors

Every scene needs a few funky players, and Montreal’s got plenty. Icehouse (51 Roy Est) is a new Plateau hot spot with a hyped up array of tasty Tex-Mex food and drink. But, if you’re looking for a real Montreal veteran, head to Café Cleopatra (1230 St. Laurent). After over a hundred years, and several attempts by the city to redevelop the site, this Montreal institution still sizzles with some of the most original drag and burlesque shows in town. Snack’n Blues (5260 St. Laurent) is just one of many Montreal haunts catering to jazz fans. It may be small, but it packs a whole lot of personality, and even more classic tunes.