Experience Montréal’s Nightlife
Photo: Cobblestone street in Old Montréal © Songquan Deng | Dreamstime.com
The largest city in Québec, Montréal infuses a French colonial vibe within a metropolis of 19 boroughs ranging from softly lit cobblestone streets to modern industrial lofts and clubs looming over the city. At its center lies the colonial Vieux-Montréal, or Old Montréal, where the Saint Lawrence River entices visitors with canal-side strolls down Champ-de-Mars. It’s one of the few coveted spots in the city with vestiges of the colonial settlement’s fortification.
Pedestrians linger along Montréal’s commercial artery to browse the shops and galleries of Rue Sainte-Catherine before making their way to bars and restaurants. It’s easy to stumble into Montréal’s nightlife, ranging from quiet riverside concerts to overcrowded nightclubs spilling into the early morning hours. Stereo on Sainte-Catherine attracts nightclub dwellers looking for hot new DJs blending genres and sounds typically not heard elsewhere. More than 100 festivals flood the city streets each year, including the Magic of Lanterns in September, lighting the Botanical Garden ablaze with 1,000 Chinese lights.
Stop in for cocktails at Le Lab for absinthe, Champagne and “flair bartending” mixology. For something quieter but with an array of eclectic drinks, try the InterContinental Montreal’s Sarah B. absinthe bar, inspired by the French dramatic film queen Sarah Bernhardt.
Jazz lovers cozy up in the basement of Dièse Onze on Rue Saint-Denis for drinks, live music and a bistro menu. A night of jazz couples perfectly with a stroll along Old Montréal’s gently illuminated cobblestone streets. The main pedestrian corridors teem with restaurants and bars, though most are overpriced and best suited for a spontaneous stop during a late-night walk. Get croissants and espresso to go instead and continue walking along the Saint Lawrence.
Montréal’s Gay Village offers open-armed hospitality for the LGBT and straight communities alike, featuring clubs, saunas and bars, with Club Unity at its epicenter. Cabaret drag shows at Cabaret Mado are a popular pastime where locals and tourists join together for a good laugh, even if not everyone understands the French song and dance.