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Mar 13, 2008 07:51 AM

Best Places for Relaxed Beer-sluggin'?

I've just moved to Montreal from Ontario and have yet to find a place where I can go, sit, and swill some beer - or non frou-frou drinks - in an atmosphere that doesn't feel rushed, or overly 'scene-ster'. Places that I love often have a local pub feel, with comfy couches, great staff and an eclectic mix of locals and brew-lovers...

I live in the Plateau and can't imagine that there isn't something that could fit the bill nearby.

However, to find my relaxed - and relaxing - beer-spot I'm willing to travel (by foot, by Metro) so all suggestions are most welcome!

(sidenote: I've heard positive things about Barmacie, Dieu du Ciel and Brutopia but don't know if these would be good spot...any insight?)

My liver and I thank you!

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  1. Reservoir and Casa del Popolo are two of my favourite places to sit around with a pint.

    1. I'd forget about Baldwin Barmacie. That place is a total scene.

      Dieu du Ciel has some of the best beer in town and a relaxed atmosphere. Although sometimes you'd swear you're in a CEGEP/UQAM student bar.

      Le Cheval Blanc on Ontario near St-Hubert is one of my favourites. It's very relaxed, with a mix of working class, artists and yuppie types. The beer is great, too.

      Vices & Versa on St-Laurent just before St-Zotique has a nice vibe and sells some of the best microbrews made in this province.

      Those are the the first ones that came to mind.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SnackHappy

        I agree that Vices & Versa and Dieu Du Ciel are the best bets in the area. (possibly in the city). My personal preference is for Vices and Versa, because I like the wider choice offered there. It's worth noting that they sometimes serve Dieu Du Ciel's beer.

        1. re: Moosemeat

          I'm with Moosemeat, as I find Dieu Du Ciel is a bit too loud for my tastes.

          I like the servers at Vices & Versa, really nice and helpful.

      2. Baldwin is a nice place, although often way too packed (on thursday nights among other nights) which to me makes it unpleasant

        I really like Benelux on Sherbrooke/Jeanne-Mance, not on the Plateau area, but great beers and good atmosphere

        3 Replies
        1. re: westaust

          I've heard good things about benelux; I have to go there soon.

          1. re: Maximilien

            Benelux is a fine place to go for a beer. Lounge chairs and banquettes abound. They show the Habs games when they're playing, so the OP might want to go there to watch the Leafs get spanked.
            Oh, and might fine home brew as well.
            Dieu du Ciel, I find, is *really* loud.

            1. re: rillettes


              And they have really good beer specials during games as well - if I remember correctly something like $1 during the 1st period, $2 during the 2nd period. and $3 during the 3rd.

        2. Brutopia would probably meet your criteria, but it's a bit out of the way for Plateau-dwellers. I've always found the homemade beer disappointing, but it does have lots of fans.

          Dieu du Ciel would also be an idea, but last I checked it was lacking in the comfort department; tavern chairs only.

          Else's might be worth a try.

          Reservoir may be over the line into "scene" territory, but worth a look and a good place to eat too.

          And of course there are numerous somewhat divey watering holes up and down St-Laurent. (On the whole, dives on St-Laurent tend to be safe, friendly places.) Most lack in the physical comfort department, but if you're a youngish Anglo you'll find some of them to be great places to meet people. Copacabana comes to mind (excellent eats, too) as does Biftek (rowdier, louder).

          5 Replies
          1. re: Mr F

            I second Casa del Popolo (St. Laurent just below St. Joseph). Couches, St.Ambroise on tap, a nice terasse in the summer. Perhaps a little bit "scene" but in a nice way. Artwork on the walls, the women at the bar are friendly and they have decent cheap sandwiches. Very relaxed.
            Else's is more expensive and less comfortable, but still relaxed.
            I also like L'Utopik if I am in the area. It's on St. Catherine right across from the Berri UQAM metro exit, with the door tucked in beside the Press Internationale there. Very relaxed, good vegetarian food, the beer is not dirt cheap, but they have couches and you can lounge for hours with no dirty looks. Much more francophone, but you can def. order in english and they often have live music and other cultural stuff going on in there.

            1. re: montrealwaitress

              The beat on the street is that L'Utopik closed at the beginning of the year!

              1. re: Daiya

                aah, seriously? i haven't been since the fall!

            2. re: Mr F

              I second Else's (just off St. Laurent on Roy) and Biftek, depending on what you're into. Not really comfy couch territory though.

              1. re: afoodyear

                Else's is also good if you are into scotch. They even have a few Islay's (put that in your pipe SAQ) in stock.

            3. I'd would definitely try Else's for a relaxed pint. I used to go to the Sergeant Recruiter, before they moved across the street, and that was a good bet too.

              2 Replies
              1. re: wilbroni

                Thanks, all!

                I relish the opportunity to try out each and every suggestion (though not in rapid-fire succession; that would prohibit me from reporting back coherently)...

                1. re: Loveroffreecell

                  Don't forget L'Amère à boire. They brew darn good beers and the place is pretty relaxed.