Wine Bar in Montreal - recommendations
I'm looking for a nice, classy wine bar/lounge for a group of about 8 for my girlfriend's birthday in a couple of weeks. I would love to go to McKiernan's but it won't be big enough to accomodate my group on a busy Friday night.
Can anyone recommend a place with a good wine selection as well as cocktail options. And a place that isn't a adverse to making "virgin" cocktails (one of our group doesn't drink for health reasons). Also, any place that can take reservations would be great too.
The cocktails requirement unfortunately strikes BU from your list. Bouchonné would be great but, as far as I know, they're mostly about wine; there is a trippy vodka chiller next to the kitchen, however, so it might be worth calling to ask. A sommelier at Pullman recently griped to me about clients coming to a wine bar and asking for cocktails, so that's probably not a viable alternative. Pop definitely does cocktails and wine (though the wine list is short), has a retro-cool Danish Modern decor and serves good food; they may also have live music (e.g. a jazz trio) on a Friday. Aszu's the only other wine bar that springs to mind; haven't ever seen a cocktail there but would be surprised if they didn't offer at least a few.
BU would probably be at the top of my list. If you reserved a few days ahead, you could probably have the entire front section with its low tables, ten or so easy chairs and view of St-Laurent to yourselves. The wine list is one of the most interesting in town, the wines by the glass are plentiful, fun and available in flights of small pours, the food is decent and varied and the overall ambiance is laidback, hip and cool.
Bouchonné, just around the corner, is tiny and funkier. A group your size would either take over the front (barstools around a high table and at counters) or most of the back (long table with banquette along one side and bentwood café chairs along the other). Either way, you'll be rubbing shoulders with the other patrons and the staff. The wine list is shorter, though all wines are available by the glass. There's also a small number of "duos," 2.5 oz pours of two related wines. I find the French-inclining food generally more interesting than BU's more predictable Italian.
If your party's tastes are more for New World wines, you're probably better off heading for Pullman or Aszu, however.
You might want to consider Vino in the Monkland Village which is a wine bar and lounge - sounds like they could tailor to everyone's needs.
IMO, the "problem" is less the cocktail part than the "no alcool" part.
Most places in general will provide limited "bar" services (beer, martini, gin'tonic, ...) but probably not "mixology" type drinks (which is easier for non-alcoolic drinks).
Me think your friend will not be left-out if the food is good and the venue nice; even if he's only drinking bottled water or sodas.