10 nightlife options for business travellers

published on March 17, 2016
What's New in Montréal

There’s no denying it: Montréal has a reputation for being a good time. One doesn’t have to wander too far in the history books (or scroll a Wikipedia page) to see evidence of this. During the prohibition years, Americans would journey to Montréal to indulge in such scornfully lewd activities as “drinking” and “gambling.” During this time period, our flirtatious French Canadian city was unrivalled in the debauchery department, and earned the label as North American’s “Sin City.”


While Montréal has certainly matured, we’re still happy to boast a thriving nightlife scene. Here are ten (mostly) classy nightlife venues for an enjoyable evening.

Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill
For swingin’ cool cats

Warm and inviting, “Upstairs” serves crowd-pleasing dishes (think burgers, seafood, pasta and salads), but it’s the diverse musical menu that really draws the crowds. Visiting jazz enthusiasts and local musicians gather in an intimate setting where they can appreciate a range of styles, from red-hot swinging trumpet solos to wistful piano ballads. www.upstairsjazz.com

For bustling business types

This former-fur-warehouse-turned-wine-bar is a popular happy hour destination for dishy local lawyers and visiting startup entrepreneurs. The wine card is adorned with private imports, including organic options, while the menu — hung on a line with clothes pins — focuses on simple, fresh, shareable dishes. Bonus: they take reservations. www.barfurco.com

Sarah B
For bohemians at heart

The voluptuous absinthe bar — located in the InterContinental hotel — owes its name to a French woman named Sarah Bernhardt who is considered the queen of French tragedy. Opt for a cocktails and a platter of Provencal bites, or reserve the alcoves of “la fée verte” (the Green Fairy), which are perfect for small groups. www.sarahbbar.com

L’Île Noire Pub
For whiskey aficionados

As Montréal’s specialists in rare whiskeys, L’Île Noire Pub has every distilled form of happiness imaginable. Order an obscure Scotch from the Highlands, or better yet, sample a local Québec-made whiskey. Groups of up to 125 can reserve a room for private events. The pub is equipped with Wi-Fi, an audio system and a projection screen. www.ilenoire.com

For those who like it “muy caliente”

Montréal’s longest-running salsa club is loud, it’s in-your-face and it makes no apologies for its flamboyant attitude. The live orchestra and bubbly DJs will keep you on your toes until the wee hours of the morning. And don’t worry if you’ve got two left feet, there are plenty of pros around to help teach you a couple steps. www.salsatheque.ca/En

Bar Kabinet
For arty cocktail connoisseurs

One of the newer drinking holes in the hip Mile End neighborhood, the décor of this charming tucked away parlour was inspired by pre-revolutionary Imperial Russian culture. The cocktail list is impressive, but not snooty. With space for only two dozen people, it’s a cozier choice. www.barkabinet.com

For laughter lovers

Featuring well-known Canadian and international headliners, this classic comedy club comes complete with requisite exposed-brick walls. If you’re in town on a Monday, don’t miss that anything-goes improv night! Reservations recommended. www.comedyworksmtl.ca

La Sala Rossa
For indie music fans

With its Spanish-community-hall-meets-high-school-prom-type vibe, Sala Rossa is one of the most unique venues in Montréal. It’s also one of the most beloved. The high stage affords good sightlines, the back bar keeps the focus on the action up front and anyone of note in Montréal’s music scene will have graced its stage at least once. www.lasalarossa.com

For appreciators of electronic ambiance

This casual daytime café turns into a relaxed electronic music lounge in the evenings. Frequented by artists, photographers and neighbourhood faces, Laïka is the hangout of choice for the open-source crowd and the urban nature lover. Smooth vibes guaranteed. www.laikamontreal.com

The Burgundy Lion
For Britophiles

A traditional English pub mixed with a modern bar and lounge that offers a unique take on British fare. The menu offers specialties (including fish & chips and veggie burgers), while the bar offers an impressive selection of traditional whiskeys and beers, as well as a modern cocktail and wine list. www.burgundylion.com

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