If there’s one thing that surely stunts your dating game, it’s indecision. Being less-versed in a city’s nightlife can be a dealbreaker, and can render you speechless when asked the otherwise simple-enough question, “So where do you want to go for drinks?” Having a mental index of local drink spots not only saves you from looking like a chump, but also shows that you have class, taste and, most importantly, confidence. Become familiar with any of these bars to turn the tables, leaving your date speechless and putting you that much closer to the finish line.
La Buvette Chez Simone
A stylish, celebrated wine bar and tapas joint situated just north of the Mountain, La Buvette Chez Simone looks a little persnickety from the outside but is in reality as unpretentious as bars come. Show up early if you want to be seated immediately as, even on weekdays, Buvette is usually packed wall to wall. We also suspect they mix some of the stiffest drinks in town, including a very sizeable Tom Collins — certainly a good way to take the edge off a first date. 4869 Parc Ave., 514-750-6577
Without coming off as biased, Bily Kun is one of our favourite watering holes in Montreal. The décor in this dimly lit drinkery is its own conversation piece: blacked-out interior, space-age restrooms, and the walls are outfitted with ostrich heads. While Bily Kun doesn’t have the most extensive beer list, they cover the basics and add a few curveballs (recommended: St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale, a true delicacy). Another popular spot, this one, so show up at a decent hour to grab a table upon arrival. If you’re stuck waiting at the door, perhaps try out some of these jokes. Let us know how, or if, they go in the Comments. 354 Mont Royal Ave. E., 514-845-5392.
Dieu du Ciel
An established staple in Montreal’s brewpub scene, Dieu du Ciel (pictured) has one of the city’s best selections of beers on tap, ranging from your average pilsner to some heavier wheat beers. If it’s your first time going to Dieu du Ciel, let your server know what are your preferences, and they can recommend something in-house that tickles your fancy. They switch up what’s on tap every week, and do significant overhauls whenever seasons change — making repeat visits to Dieu du Ciel not only enjoyable, but pretty much necessary. 29 Laurier Ave. W., 514–490-9555.
When we’re in the mood for cocktails, or at least looking out for our dame’s wants and needs, Baldwin Barmacie is our bar of choice. A bit on the clubbier side of things, this place knows how to turn a quiet conversation over drinks into something more lively — and intimate. If you’re the shy type, or simply have two left feet, there are plenty of booths to sit in and cocktails to choose from (we regularly crave the bourbon punch). If mixed drinks just aren’t your thing, Baldwin has a number of beers on tap, served in antique milk bottles. Our tip is to dress your best, as there’s nothing worse than being the poorest dressed at a bar, and Baldwin has an incredibly attractive clientele. On second thought, maybe keep this spot in mind for a Plan B — just in case the first date doesn’t go so well. 115 Laurier Ave. W., 514-276-4248.
Image courtesy of Dieu du Ciel.