Your Annual Link Guide to Montreal Nightlife

Dance Your Ass Off, Play Some Pong or Drink in the Park Like the Rest of Us

Photo Illustration Julian Bata and Brian Lapuz

There’s a distinct reason why people from all over the world flock to Montreal to party.

First of all, bars and music venues are open (legally) until three in the morning. Secondly, we sell beer and wine in dépanneurs (pronounced “day-pa-nur,” or “dep” for short) until 11 p.m. And third, Montreal’s party culture is so uniquely vast that anyone, no matter what they’re into, is sure to nd a spot to call a second home.

Montreal boasts a multicoloured nightlife landscape, with streets dotted with quirky dives, hella cool dancing spots, and enough shows to go to something awesome every night of the week. We suggest that you skip the clubs on the main drags— think Crescent St. and the better part of St. Laurent Blvd—and try something a little more off-the- radar. Haven’t you always wanted to go to a pinball bar?

Le Salon Daome
141 Mont-Royal Ave. E.

  • Have the time of your life for under $20
  • A cozy dance party
  • Sundays are the new Saturday, baby!

While the cover is cheap—usually hitting the $6 dollar mark on a Sunday—and you can double fist Boreal beers for $9, it’s not the prices that have had me going back to Salon time and time again. It’s the dancing.

This bar, tucked neatly away on Mont- Royal, will almost slip your gaze. It’s as equally hidden as it is respected in the electronic music scene, and the nightly selection of locally- and internationally-known DJs playing the candle-lit dance floor will have you searching the street until you find it. Lose yourself in stellar music until the morning without having to worry about people not respecting your space—the crowd is super nice and more about the beat than trying to grind up on ya.

Bar Bootlegger L’Authentique
481 St. Laurent Blvd

  • Support the arts and local scene
  • Cabaret, swing, blues and jazz bar
  • Best night to go: Thursdays, for Le Cypher

If you appreciate live hip-hop, R’n’B, instrumentals, and improvised sets, Bar Bootlegger L’Authentique could be your next go-to venue. On select Thursday evenings, Bootlegger is home to Le Cypher, a jam-night backed by local band Urban Science. Talent of all kinds get up on stage to share their art, whether it be rapping, singing, dancing or playing an instrument. It’s the best place to go if you wanna blow off some steam and refill your soul with funk. But we’d suggest a pre-drink, as the bar can be expensive.

Daylife: Picnik Electronik
Parc Jean-Drapeau

  • $13.50 entry
  • A little rave in sunshine
  • Every Sunday until Sept. 24

Take the metro underwater and arrive at Montreal’s man-made island of debauchery, Île Ste-Hélène, for an afternoon of electronic music and dancing as the sun goes down. Head down to Parc Jean-Drapeau and people watch from the grassy chill-out spots or grab a crêpe and a beer for a mini music festival experience.

Undisclosed Location

  • Free music all night (and morning)
  • Legality is questionable
  • Buses only start leaving at 7 a.m.

Who doesn’t like free parties in the middle of nowhere? Location: that little stretch of land that’s like, somewhere in between the Old Port and Pointe St. Charles, you know, kind of close to the Farine Five Roses sign? We’re not sure exactly how to get there, but you can probably ask for directions from other people getting on the 168 bus. Why? Because the only good system is a sound system.

North Star Machines à Piastres
3908 St. Laurent Blvd

  • You can have fun for under $10
  • Don’t have to drink
  • Retro vibes

1950s to 1980s pinball machines—you don’t even need to drink to have fun here! Exchange a fiver for some tokens and you’re set to play. If you’d like to wet your whistle, their menu is categorized from “Cheap Shit” to “Expensive Shit” and prices include the “glorious provincial and federal taxes.”

Club Unity
171 Ste. Catherine St. E.

  • Cage dancing
  • A gay ol’ time
  • About $40 for a really good time

An inclusive club in the Village, Club Unity is your stable gay bar. It has two floors, often with two styles of music. A couple of shots in and you’re sure to dance your ass off, kiss some cuties, and end up in the hospital if you have as much fun as I did. Beware of that staircase!

1242 Bishop St.

  • About $17 for a lovely time
  • Basement blues
  • Tuesdays for the open mic, Wednesdays for the Jazz Night

The Link’s local watering hole, Grumpy’s is a wonderful place to go to listen to your friends rant about the current state of journalism and sip on a whiskey. Get to know the bar’s infamous bartender, Gern, and be sure to hear a crazy story or two.

Ping Pong Club 5788 St. Laurent Blvd.
  • Hit some balls for free
  • Lush in vine plants, rich in good seating
  • Best night to go: Mondays and Tuesdays for $5 pints

Who doesn’t love a good paddling? Wait, uh, that’s not what I meant! Grab a drink and play some free table tennis at Ping Pong Club in the ever-trendy Mile End.

Drinking in the Park

  • BYOB
  • Chill with your pals
  • Just don’t get busted, and don’t climb the statues!

The most underrated venue of them all—the park closest to home. Grab some friends and some cans; a blanket and a baguette, and you’re good to go. Be respectful and leave the space as you found it, though.