Where and what Montreal's writers and photographers loved to drink in 2023

A range of institutions in the making, speakeasies, and classic bars—even cafés—numbered among the best places to drink this past year.

J.P. Karwacki

J.P. Karwacki

December 31, 2023- Read time: 4 min
Where and what Montreal's writers and photographers loved to drink in 2023Photograph: Bon Délire / @_bon_delire_, Instagram

Bottom's up, Montreal: While the city's bar scene wasn't exactly bursting with as many openings as there were restaurants, there were still quite a few watering holes that made an impression on Montreal-based writers, bloggers, and photographers.

Where did you love to drink in 2023?

Alison Slattery, photographer, @twofoodphotographers: I am not a big big drinker, but I did enjoy some stout at Bily Kun, delicious wines at Tinc Set, Salle Climatisée, and Bar Henrietta.

Michael Grande and Alessandro Rea, food bloggers, @mangiabeneboys: Bar George has been one of our go-tos for drinks; the vibe and the cocktails are always great. Another mention is definitely Bar Bello; we love the atmosphere and their take on the Italian aperitivo bar.

Tommy Dion, food writer, @lecuisinomane: An aromatic filter from Binocle at Pastel Rita, or a juicy Joyeux Roger from Zab at Pastel Rita or in one of the three Paquebot cafés. I also love hogging part of the bar at Micro Espresso Café in Old Montreal, a cup of light roast in hand with a delicious carrot muffin.

As I'm not the kind of person who goes out just for a drink, here are a few restaurants where I had as much fun drinking as eating: Mon Lapin, Alma and Knuckles, to name but a few (you can count yourself lucky to drink so well in Montreal). For cocktails, I enjoyed ordering them at Foxy, Moccione, Le Garden Room, and I really enjoyed the concoctions at the brand new Caifan.

Ivy Lerner-Frank, writer, @ivylernerfrank: I don’t tend to go out to drink – for me, it’s all about the food – but I’m super happy about WILLS in my neighbourhood. It’s really fun to hang out in the summer with the Winneburger truck having one of their beers at a picnic table and seeing friends who just happen to be there; in the fall and winter it’s super cozy (and beautiful) inside. Their new food program is pretty nice, too.

Charles Nguyen, food & wine blogger, @mtlcharles: Magpie Magique, the secret cocktail lounge with chill vibes, signature cocktails and delicious Italian meets Persian small plates to share.

Daniel Bromberg, co-founder of The Main: I kept finding myself wanting to go back to classics like Cicchetti, Vinvinvin and Bar-St-Denis on the wine and cocktail side. For beer, hats off to WILLS for the big splash on the Montreal scene, and a shout-out to Herman out in Prévost—picnic tables, $2 steamies, and damn good beer.

Phil Tabah, co-founder of The Main: Knox in the South, Else's in the Plateau. They're both places that you can spend hours in catching up with old friends and also have a great meal.

What new bar were you most excited for this year?

Alison Slattery, photographer, @twofoodphotographers: Double's Late Night and Bon Délire.

Michael Grande and Alessandro Rea, food bloggers, @mangiabeneboys: This year we were most excited for the opening of Emmanuelle Lounge.

Tommy Dion, food writer, @lecuisinomane: Even though I don't really like bars, I really liked Double's.

Daniel Bromberg, co-founder of The Main: Hearing that Danny Smiles was opening the dive bar Double's Late Night on Parc Avenue was pretty hype. And then they added smash burgers into the mix.

Phil Tabah, co-founder of The Main: Bar Dominion was my go-to spot downtown for a long time. This new spot kept the charm and relaunched with a great menu and drink program. Very happy to have this spot open.

Photograph: @magpiemagiquemtl / Instagram

What about your favourite cocktail?

Alison Slattery, photographer, @twofoodphotographers: I had a delicious old fashioned & sidecar at Magpie Magique.

Michael Grande and Alessandro Rea, food bloggers, @mangiabeneboys: The Golden Square Mile at Bar George, even though they took it off the menu, we still always ask for it and they still make it most of the time. Also the espresso martini at Marcus are unmatched and the Tiramisu cocktail or classic Negroni at Bar Bello are both so good.

Tommy Dion, food writer, @lecuisinomane: The New Delhi at Foxy.

Daniel Bromberg, co-founder of The Main: I discovered the Americano while in Italy this fall, and boy oh boy, is it good. Like a Negroni, only you can drink a lot more of them.

Phil Tabah, co-founder of The Main: I ordered a lot of Tequila Martinis – dirty – all summer. Lately I've been ordering a classic Manhattan or a Negroni.

Still thirsty?

We'll send stories like these straight to your inbox—if it's from us, it ain't junk.