The City of Saints begins to feel a lot more like Sin City when you're searching for a place to grab a drink after a long day of sightseeing. As the second most populous city in Canada, Montreal is home to so many bars and eateries it can be difficult for visitors to find those laid-back, hole-in-the-wall establishments where the locals hang. These eight must-visit Montreal dive bars are ones where the workers and patrons may not know your name yet, but they probably will before you leave.
The Mad Hatter looks more like a townhome than a boozing establishment, but it has been a staple stop for Concordia University students for roughly two decades. A small, quirky pub with an inviting rooftop patio, The Hatter, as it's known among locals, is one of the best places in the city to find affordable drinks and cheap (but tasty) eats in a laid-back atmosphere.
Visitors commonly pass by Andrew's Pub while cruising along Guy, but few ever go inside. However, those who know to enter this unassuming bar across from the Faubourg building are always in for a good time. A popular spot among art students, there's no better place in the neighbourhood to drink tall boys on the cheap, challenge a stranger in a game of pool and feel 100-percent accept, whether you're wearing pajamas or a business suit.
Some dive bars are made even more special by their surroundings. Found in the city's Latin quarter, Le Saint-Ciboire is known for its welcoming employees, live music, spacious terrace, and cheap drinks. The unpretentious atmosphere is a breathe of fresh air in a city plagued by nightclubs and dress codes.
Cock 'n Bull
The Cock 'n Bull is probably the most famous of Montreal's dive bars, but don't let the weekend crowds steer you away from the ultra cheap pitchers (four liters for $20), live music and welcoming bartenders and locals. Find out when they're hosting happy hour, and you can get those dirt-cheap beers for even less.
Bartenders typically know the best places in town to grab a cheap drink and have a good time, so when they chose the Pub Saint-Charles as one of their favourite hot spots when interviewed by Montreal Eater, we knew it was a gem. Located in the historically working-class borough of Pointe-Saint-Charles, part of the enjoyment of this pub is the local crowd and low-key neighborhood.
Another Point-Saint-Charles gem, Pub Griffin attracts the neighborhood's most interesting characters. It's a place where you can chat for hours with the locals, the legendary bartender, or fellow visitors who have been clued into this cozy, off-the-beaten-path watering hole. Start your evening at Pub Griffin, and you never know what will happen next.
Bar le Tunnel
Local cooks know Montreal's hole-in-the-walls as well as the bartenders, and Bar le Tunnel, at 4599 Parce Ave., is one of their favourites. Duck into the discreet front door, and you'll enjoy a local late-night hangout that's rarely discovered by tourists.
Bar Vol de Nuit
When the crowd at Cafe Campus is just too much the bear, head across the street to Bar Vol De Nuit. Found on the historic,cobblestone streets of Prince Arthur, this hangout has been a favourite among regulars and students for nearly 20 years. Known for affordable pints, a friendly staff, and a terrace that's ideal for sunning while you sip in the summer months, Bar Vol de Nuit is an alluring hole-in-the-wall in the heart of it all.
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