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Boston Cocktail Nerd ISO Montreal Recs

  • b
  • bza Oct 3, 2008 09:24 AM

Hello all,

I'll be visiting Montreal next weekend for the first time, and I have some great restaurants lined up, but I haven't been able to find any really interesting bars to check out yet. I'll probably go to the Whiskey Cafe, as I am a big whiskey person, but mixed drinks seem to primarily be served at either high-end restaurants or dance-focused nightclubs.

Is there anywhere to go to get well-mixed, classic-style cocktails in a mellow atmosphere? I'm talking fresh-squeezed juices, homemade bitters, original concoctions, etc. served by knowledgeable and friendly bartenders e.g. Eastern Standard and No. 9 Park in Boston or Milk and Honey and PDT in NYC.

Thanks, and I can't wait to meet your city!

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  1. Pop! comes to mind. This one is a wine bar, and they have a very short list of cocktails, but these are impeccably made and are original

    http://www.popbaravin.com/html_en/win...

    I find the atmosphere of Whiskey Cafe a little bit too American Psycho for my taste, but indeed their selection is impeccable. If you prefer a little bit post punk/ grunge atmosphere you can also imbibe at Else's at Roy. They do not have full liquor licence, which means you need to purchase a little finger food, but they are open after noon and don't even look at you weird if you want a lunchtime Islay break.

    2 Replies
    1. re: emerilcantcook

      If the criteria are "fresh-squeezed juices, homemade bitters, original concoctions, etc.", I can't think of a better recommendation than Pop!

      1. re: emerilcantcook

        The Pop Cup #1 was really refreshing at Pop! The High Wind in Jamaica was okay but i was a little underwhelmed. Then again rum isn't my thing. Overall a wonderful place.

      2. Montreal is not a great place for cockatails, but we did just have some fine ones at the new Distillerie, corner of Mont Royal and Bordeaux. Ambience was relaxed on a weekday night, and you could actually taste the alcohol! Else's is also good suggestion but stick to scotch.

        2 Replies
        1. re: euryleia

          Not surprised that a place that specializes in whiskey would be a draw for the patrick batemans of the world, it's the one downside to the water of life.

          Distillerie looks pretty interesting though, maybe I'll check it out. Thanks!

          1. re: euryleia

            Yes, I totally agree. I should have been clearer. The cocktails at Else's are not particularly good. That is a place I visit for scotch, or maybe a pint

          2. I went to La Quincaillerie on Rachel, at the corner of Mentana, and had 2 cocktails. Both were excellent. I am a tough critic on cocktails and the ones I had were excellent. We went there after a dinner we had at La colombe, which by the way was not very good, and we played Cranium (a board game). They have board games for those not alone.

            I don't remember the name of the drink but I had a martini that had a shot of espresso and baileys. It was excellent. I also had a Long Island iced tea and it was great.

            It is a laid back kind of place. It is not a club nor a snobby place. People go there to have a drink, talk or play a board game. There is a bar where you can sit and talk with the bartender if you are on your own.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cricri7

              I'll tell you where to go if you invite me at milk and honey...
              Ahahaha, this place seems a bit overrated anyway.

              The usual suspects come to mind.

              Le pullman - http://www.pullman-mtl.com/
              Probably the wine bar in montreal which has the best atmosphere, wine choice is impressive, and the food is ok.

              La buvette chez Simone - http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iID...
              Again, a relatively new and decent place. Food is ok, so is wine.

              Le baldwin barmacie http://english.montrealplus.ca/bars_r...
              A bar on laurier with a great atmosphere. The drinks are decent, and the crowd is good looking. Be aware that most of the people there speak french.

              The burgundy lion - http://www.burgundylion.com/
              A new pub that opened in little burgundy. It's right in front of Joe beef and liverpool house so if you plan on trying these restaurants, you could have a few drinks there afterward.

              Then there's the supperclub scene (Buena notte, koko, sofia etc.) but I'm not a big fan of it. I'd also try to stay away from the crescent street bars, since they're everything but montrealesque in my opinion. And as a scotch lover myself, I second the whiskey cafe choice.

              Have nice trip!!!

              J.

              1. re: Jhn

                none of those places are "cocktail" worthy, except Baldwin Barmacie. (IMO).

                The only thing that comes to mind when talking about cocktail is L'Assommoir (on Bernard St.); atmosphere is a bit hectic, but the drink list is extensive and some of the barmen do a bit of "flair"

                1. re: Maximilien

                  I totally agree with you about the "cocktail" worthy point maximilien.
                  However, I do feel that these places are

                  "really interesting bars to check out"
                  as bza asked.

                  I do agree that l'assommoir is also a decent place for cocktails. What about the Gogo lounge? do you guys think it is cocktail worthy?
                  I know that the best drinks that i've had were at the cube which was more of a restaurant than a bar. But then again, I usually stick to wine, beer or scotch so you're welcomed to critic my opinion on cocktails...

                  1. re: Maximilien

                    It seems like it might be better to stick to wine in Montreal, but that actually sounds pretty good, Maximilien, I might end up checking that and Pop out, thanks!

                    And Jhn, thanks for the recs, but if you aren't into cocktails, there's not much purpose in Milk and Honey... If you like scotch, the Brandy LIbrary is a better pick when you're in New York (but I'll stop the conversation before the chowhound gods reprimand us).

                    EDIT: Just realized that Pop is next door and connected to Laloux, which I happen to be eating at on Saturday... how convenient...