With arguably the best bar scene of any major city in Canada, Montreal is teeming with awesome hot spots to enjoy a night out with your friends. Aside from the lively partying that's always going on somewhere in the city, what contributes to the city's vibrant nightlife is also the multitude of unique, interesting bars that you can't find anywhere else.
Whether it's the decor, history, or an interesting gimmick you've never seen before, some Montreal bars are just built to impress. From skateboarding to surfing, a night on Montreal's eccentric bar scene can leave both longtime residents and new tourists in awe.
So, if you're looking for a wild weekend spot, but you're also hoping to experience something different than a typical night on the town, trust that these places have everything you're looking for.
1. Oasis Surf
Would you believe that the above scene is actually smack dab in the middle of a restaurant? Probably not, but I assure you, that is the case with Oasis Surf, a spot that allows you to sip on a daiquiri while watching both amateur and professional surfers try their hand at the waves.
Perfect for when you're craving those island vibes but can't get away for a vacation, Oasis Surf is sure to impress you and your company. It's one of the most unique places in Montreal, and it's certainly worth it to stay for a drink or three.
2. Jardin Nelson
An absolute gem in the heart of the Old Port, Jardin Nelson is impressive because of the trifecta: a gorgeous terrasse, an ideal location, and an old-world feel that can't be topped.
You can't walk through the Old Port without somehow drifting towards this terrasse, and you can't help but sneak a glance inside - there is often jazz music floating out onto the street, as if this place wasn't irresistible enough already. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with Jardin Nelson; between the upscale cuisine, magical ambiance, and historical feel, it's impressive beyond belief.
First surfboarding in a bar, now skateboarding? You better believe it, because anything goes in Montreal, and when you walk into this place and see tons of skateboarders taking a turn on the skate bowl right next to the bar, you'll understand why.
TRH-Bar is my go-to place to impress a friend from out of town. It's such a cool spot, and you can have a great time just by standing by the bowl and watching the skaters do their thing. There are two floors, and each play different music, so you can switch back and forth depending on your taste. For its unique atmosphere, TRH-Bar wins as an all-around crowd pleaser (impresser?).
4. Big In Japan Bar
It's the entrance - or lack thereof - that contributes to the unique mystery behind Big In Japan bar. Walk down St. Laurent, just past Bar Belmont, and you might miss it; there is no obvious sign that the bar is there, aside from a very narrow doorway, which leads to a seemingly never-ending hallway that connects to the main room.
Big In Japan is cool for so many reasons. It's the epitome that 'dark bar' trope, and it's perfect for an ultra romantic date night. It's a Japanese-style pub, offering some delicacies from the cuisine, as well as uniquely crafted cocktails - whiskey is a favourite. To truly impress both a first date and your longtime significant other, Big In Japan is the place to do it.
5. Le Mal Nécessaire
Everything about this place exudes effortless cool: from the eerily-lit neon green entrance, to the numerous cocktails served in pineapples and coconuts, Le Mal Nécessaire feels like an eclectic mash up of everything that makes a night out great.
An awesome place to bring your crew for more than a few drinks, this bar will impress on many levels. If you want somewhere that will make your friends say, "No way!" when their drink comes out, this bar is your ideal spot.
6. Kinoya Izakaya
Hanging out at Kinoya kind of feels like you're drinking inside someone's wood carving project - it's so intricately designed you'll spend most of your time admiring the place than you will focusing on your meal or cocktail.
That's not to say that the food or drinks are not up to par with the decor, because they definitely are. Kinoya truly provides an authentic Japanese Izakaya experience, similar to Big In Japan. It has its own unique ambiance that will leave you more impressed than you could've imagined.
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Dark, sexy, mysterious, exclusive - Cloakroom bar is all of that and more. A speakeasy that doesn't obviously look like a bar from the outside, you'll be continually surprised as you make your way through the entrance, then behind a mirrored door that will finally reveal the main bar room.
Doubling as a high end tailoring service during the day, Cloakroom carries the ambiance of class and finery to the bar environment. You could disappear into a corner of this bar for hours, chatting with your company or cozying up with your significant other. A truly standout, exciting bar experience, a night at Cloakroom is something you'll look back on for years to come.
This place will impress just based on the fact that is a bonafide hot spot. A Chinatown favourite, Luwan wows with its fun crow, casual-yet-cool ambiance, and amazing beats.
If you have friends visiting from out of town and you're not sure where to take them, rest assured they'll have an amazing time at Luwan. You'll all appreciate the endlessly fun times this bar can provide, and with different themes for each night of the week, there's tons of Luwan to go around.
9. Nacho Libre
Nacho Libre is equipped with kitschy memorabilia, funky lights, original cocktails, and - I kid you not - swing sets for seats. Swing sets for seats! This is not a drill.
This bar is unique in its own right, and even if you frequent it, I'm sure you're impressed each time you enter. From a casual cocktail to a wild night out, anything goes at this quasi-Mexican bar, where you can order tacos and ponder the strange decor. Head to Nacho Libre for a fresh take on an 'unusual' bar experience.
10. Ping Pong Club
I know what you might be thinking - being impressed by ping pong? But honestly, you just can't ignore the cute, fun atmosphere that Ping Pong Club provides. With trendy decor, and a super laid back vibe, this bar is a guaranteed good time.
You don't always need expensive drinks or a fancy interior to be impressed, or to impress someone else. Sometimes, all that works is a fun gimmick that gets people together and makes things a little more interesting. That's exactly what Ping Pong Club does - so set aside your preconceived notions and have a little fun, won't you?