Hotel bars that set the bar high
Gone are the days of hotel bars with outmoded curtains and fading ambiance! Some hotel bars have now even become hip hot spots. Read on for our list of Montreal’s must-visit hotel bars.
Theatre lovers have known it all along: this tiny bar is named after famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt. A mere stones’ throw from the bar in Nordeimer’s Hall (now the InterContinental’s reception hall), the dramatic actress displayed her acting prowess on stage during her 1880 visit to Montreal. While the bar is a popular tourist stop, Sarah B. also beckons to absinthe lovers, that famed spirit nicknamed the ‘green fairy’. A small private room, also called La Fée Verte, is available via reservation for those hosting a more intimate gathering. Locals return here because of its warmth, and to sip on herby absinthe, accompanied by its very specific tasting ritual that Sarah B. staff know well. Across from the bar in the dining room, a variety of Provençal-style dishes are served.
360, rue Saint-Antoine Ouest
Hotel Mount Stephen’s Le Bar George is without a doubt one of Montreal’s best-kept secrets. Knowing the backstory of this gorgeous spot is only part of its mystique. Recently designated a historical monument, this Victorian-style building came to life in 1880 as the crown jewel of the Golden Square Mile—a bastion of beauty among boring grey skyscrapers. Since its 2017 transformation into a luxury hotel—and the grand opening of Bar George, on the first floor—its beauty has become fully revealed. Abundant varnished wood, a marble bar top adorned with white lilies and hydrangeas, everything has been thoughtfully brought together. Even if the ambient opulence feels intimidating, their drink menu has something for everyone, at every budget. During 5 à 7s, select one of their signature cocktails; there’s even one featuring elderflower syrup! Snack on some British-style nibbles in a relaxed and truly glamorous atmosphere. Feel free to stay at Le Bar George until the wee hours, grooving to sounds selected by guest DJs.
1440, rue Drummond
Born of the ashes of the former Wunderbar, Le Bartizen has a completely different ambiance than its predecessor! The bar belonging to the W Hotel has been transformed into a subdued lounge space that feels like a speak-easy. Here, gin is the spirit of predilection. With some twenty-odd made-in-Quebec gins on offer, (without counting the extensive international collection), you’ll have more than enough selection! Signature cocktails have been designed using inspiration from the ingredients in each bottle. Since tastings are an affair for the palate and nose alike, essential oils are spritzed to heighten the pleasure. Boreal salt, algae, liquorice sticks, and sweet gale bring out the best of St-Laurent gin’s salty notes, while sea buckthorn and touches of orange and ginger pair well with Wendigo gin. Make Bartizen a regular stop, because the delicious menu changes daily. Thursdays are $10 cocktail nights!
901, rue du Square-Victoria
Since the iconic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth’s metamorphosis, Nacarat has become a chic stop for savvy Montrealers. Its satiny black ceiling, sleek globed glass chandeliers, streamlined, styled bar stools, and geometric pattern flooring lend it a mysterious and futuristic air. Famed mixologist Nader Chabaane designed the cocktail menu, and artfully blends appealing and audacious ingredients—gin and yogurt liqueur, mescal and squid ink, anyone? If trying to choose just one libation is too great a task, you can always opt for their flavor circle (ranging from bitter to umami), or go for the glass
with the description that tickles your funny bone most. Nacarat is popular with downtown professionals as well as committed gourmets; your taste buds will thank you for ordering salmon tataki with a coriander and kimchi emulsion!
900, boulevard René Lévesque Ouest