There’s something about a hotel bar: the hushed atmosphere, the international crowd, the feeling that even if you’re in your hometown, you can soak up some of travel’s electrifying energy. It also just so happens that some of Montreal’s nicest bars – period – are in hotels.
Lauded for well-mixed drinks, lush seating and, in a couple of cases, arresting views, here are 5 to raise a glass to.
With Daniel Boulud now at the helm, it’s no wonder the Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant feels lush and fresh again. One of the nicest ways to spend an early evening is saddled up to the adjoining bar, where you can order a top-notch house cocktail (like the Uncle Buck, which mixes St-George Spirits Terroir Gin with maple water, elderflower syrup and seabuckthorn berries) and snack on a small plate from the bar menu, available from 2:30 to 5:30 pm.
1228 Sherbrooke St. West, 514-842-4212
Downstairs: Méchant Boeuf, the hotel’s relaxed, hopping pub that serves easy meaty fare in a warm, leather-lined lounge, great for a drinks-only pit-stop anytime of the year. Upstairs: Terrasse Nelligan, a rooftop terrace that defines summer in Montreal. The view onto the Old Port and surrounding Old Montreal is incredible, which may explain the crowd’s permanent state of joy. Or maybe it’s the white-wine sangria pitchers?
106, rue Saint-Paul Ouest, 514-788-2040
Le Saint Sulpice
This Old Montreal hotel has the type of lobby that never sleeps: the vast space leads seamlessly from check-in counter to lounge to restaurant to terrasse, each segment of which teems with life. Take a breather at the Sinclair lounge, where you can sink deep into a comfy couch to people watch solo-style as you sip, or lean on the handsome bar to share a flute of bubbly with someone interesting. In the summer, let the good times spill out into the gorgeous garden out back.
414 Saint-Sulpice, 514-288-1000
Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites
You’ve got a few choices and this hopping hotel: 1) Kyo, an exciting izakaya just off the lobby where you can sate your appetite with bento boxes and over 25 varieties of sake; 2) Suite 701, where you can dine finely or just hop on a bar stool and order house cocktails like La Pomme de Jack, a mix of Jack Daniels, SortileÌge, apple syrup, bitters, egg whites and caramelized hazelnuts; and 3) Terrasse Place d’Armes, a summertime treat on the hotel roof with incredible views over the old city and Quartier des Spectacles.
55, rue Saint-Jacques, Vieux-Montréal, 514-842-1887
Hotel Le St. James
Easily the poshest stay in town, this second home to the stars (including Madonna and the Rolling Stones) is accessible to all, at least for the time of a drink or three. Explore the velvety lushness of XO Le Lounge, behind the lobby in what once was the formal Banker’s Hall, where you can get lost in private conversations over a grade A single-malt and a casual menu of haute-ified comfort-food classics, including oysters Rockefeller, sliders and a duck confit poutine.
355 Saint-Jacques Street, 514-841-3111