Every neighborhood in Montreal is chockful of great bars and pubs that offer half-riced pints during Happy hour. But if you’re planning on storming that bar with twenty of your work colleagues, then that’s an entirely different matter. You need to plan ahead a little bit for best results.
Here are twelve great places to host your next Happy hour with your work buddies.
1. The Purveyor
Format: Private, main area Where: Jean-Talon Market
Le Pourvoyeur is a beautiful country-style bar that can accommodate groups of any size. Located at the Jean-Talon market, the bar offers hundreds of different gins for connoisseurs and afficianados. On the menu, there’s a decent selection of local beers, wines, cocktails, salads, burgers and snacks. You can book the second floor for a special event (see Groups & Events)
2. The Waverly
Format: Main area Where: Mile-End
If you are only four or five people, why not pick the Waverly? It’s a charming bar, with upholstered couches and windows that are open all summer. The Waverly is loved by the locals, a throng of Ubisoft employees working next door. You can book ahead of time, the music is good and the prices more than decent.
3. The Place d’Armes Hotel
Format: Terrace Where: Old Montreal (Place d’Armes)
There’s no other place like it in Montreal. This huge terrace on top of a historical building overlooks the gorgeous Place d’Armes. Considered trendy by the gentry and affluent locals, it’s still the best spot to sip a great glass of cold white wine, Sangria or a mojito. Call ahead for larger groups and don’t show up late, this is one popular destination on a hot day.
4. The Culinary Lab
Format: Main area, terrasse Where: Entertainment District
The Labo Culinaire is an innovative project launched by the Society for Arts and Technology that combines fine cuisine and fine wines. The menu is chef Adrien Renaud’s brain child, great cuisine at reasonable prices in an elegant and very modern decor. The biodynamic wine list is highly commendable, and the Labo also offers local beers and elaborate cocktails. You can make a reservation for up to 16 people.
5. Canal Lounge
Format: Boat Where: Atwater Market, on the Lachine Canal
The Canal Lounge is a stationary riverboat that has been converted into a posh bar. Located next to the Atwater Market, it is surely the most beautiful place on our list to enjoy one of their amazing cocktails and watch the sun set. Ideal for groups of six and under, first come, first serve.
6. Big In Japan
Format: Main area Where: Plateau
Finding this bar is quite an adventure. First, locate the hidden entrance, then select a table in the lavishly decorated candle-light room with its signature huge bar. High class means higher prices, but don’t fret, it’s well worth it for the experience. Treat yourself to their great cocktails and Japanese whiskeys. Eat before coming to the bar, the bar grub is lightweight.
7. Huis clos
Format: Main area Where: Villeray
Located in the heart of the Villeray district, the Huis clos is a popular neighborhood bar. Regulars come during the Happy hour for the “5 to 8” oyster special, 5 oysters for eight dollars, and for their great selection of beers, imported wines and tasty cocktails. Seafood and tartare are the main feature here. Seating is first come, first served, so show up early if you’re a large group.
8. Velo Festif
Format: Bike Where: Plateau Mont-Royal and Rosemont
Velo Festif has been taking Montrealers on a grand tour of the city for the past four years in a most unusual way, on a giant bicycle. Try their Happy Hour Sangria tour, and pedal your way to local bars for ninety minutes, or dance, or dance and pedal. The bike accomodates up to 18 people. Velo Festif has several other trips.
Format: Main area, terrace Where: Downtown
By far the most beautiful terrace of Montreal, the Ste-Elisabeth is a haven of peace in downtown Montreal with its three walls of greenery. Inside, there is more than enough room to accommodate larger groups on two floors, but you want to experience the outside. Come early because this place is home to many students of the nearby university. A no brainer.
10. Sir Winston Churchill
Format: Main area, terrace Where: Downtown
There are so many bars on Crescent Street to choose from for Happy Hour, and even a $5 a plate restaurant, but Sir Winston Churchill’s is a classic destination, a throwback to the Cheers era and a perfect place to match hockey or soccer. The beer is cheap, there’s free finger food and lots of room for even the largest groups
11. Typhoon Lounge
Format: Main area, terrace Where: NDG
For those who work on the west side of town, try out the Typhoon Lounge on Monkland. The place doesn’t look like much, but the martinis are are all the rage and there’s a full dinner menu with tataki, steaks, burgers and more. The kitchen closes at two in the morning, if you’re still around. Reservations
12. The Lab
Format: Main area Where: Entertainment District
Recommended for smaller groups or to celebrate a special event. Each cocktail on their expansive menu has been expertly concocted by Montreal’s award-winning mixologists at the Lab. Expect nothing but the best. As soon as you step foot in the bar, you can feel that this bar is a cut above. Each cocktail will set you back $15 or so, but I doubt you’ll regret it.