The holy trinity of summer in Montreal is terrace cinq-a-septs, skimpily dressed French girls and lots of live music. We’ve shared our views on the first subject; the second we don’t dare tackle. As for tunage, the bands are only part of the equation. The other key part: location, location, location. Here are our five picks for the city’s most underrated venues.
Small, hot and frequently rowdy, Barfly is the best kind of comfortable neighbourhood showbar, with a postage stamp-sized stage, faithful regulars and weekly bluegrass nights, in addition to occasional indie rock gigs. 4062 St-Laurent Blvd., (514) 284-6665.
Casa del Popolo
Along with its sister venue, La Sala Rossa (below), this cozy bar/café/veggie resto has become a hub of cultural activity since it opened in 2000; drop by any night and you’re likely to see rock bands, DJs, free jazz or an art opening. 4873 St-Laurent Blvd., (514) 284-3804.
La Sala Rossa
Across the street is La Sala Rossa, which boasts a Spanish restaurant on the first floor and a large venue upstairs popular with touring bands. 4848 St-Laurent, (514) 284-0122.
An old vaudeville theatre, the National was converted fairly recently into a charming concert theatre that still has a bit of the old sawdust-and-greasepaint feeling to it. 1220 Ste-Catherine Street E., (514) 522-1093.
Le Divan Orange
A friendly, staff-owned showbar known for its easy-going attitude and artist-friendly nature, Le Divan Orange is a great place to see up-and-coming local acts, grab a pint, and chow down on vegetarian food if you’re feeling peckish. 4234 St-Laurent Blvd., (514) 840-9090.