We’ve already done 5 Shots in 5 Bars, 5 Beers in 5 Bars and 5 Cocktails in 5 Bars and Montreal has so many great bars that it’s always difficult to narrow down a Top 5. But, after careful planning, we finally settled on the Top 5 Best Bars to help you get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini…
We kicked the night off at Deville Dinerbar in the heart of the Montreal downtown bar scene. Deville is a 50s style “dinerbar” with a black and pink motif that made the place feel like the Pink Ladies from Grease might show up and start razzing me at any point. This is a good thing. Deville’s cocktail menu is as diverse as their dinner menu (you can order deep fried pickles!) but we settled on the bartender’s suggestion. The barkeep, a gentleman and martini scholar, made us a refreshing martini with prosecco, cucumber, gin and egg whites. The result was a clean, light and fizzy martini that tasted like summer.
Then it was off to the famous Jello Martini Lounge on Ontario. If you strolled down Ontario you might miss this hidden gem, but the lounge has been in business for a couple of decades and Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Robert De Niro have all graced the bar at some point in the lounge’s storied history. Something tells me those fellas know a good martini when they see one and, after sampling a few at Jello, I concur. We decided to order the “Jello 94” and the classic “Jello Martini”, which are the lounge’s staple cocktails. The ambience was relaxed and there was a smattering of people at the bar awaiting the night’s festivities. Jello also hosts live jazz performances, improv and there’s a wall of lava lamps if you prefer that style of entertainment.
Afterwards, we hopped up Saint-Laurent and landed at Go Go Lounge, where the bartender blew us away with an array of martinis in all the colours of the rainbow. Behind the bar you’ll find beautiful ladies who are martini magicians and make dangerously delicious drinks. If you’re lucky enough to go to Go Go Lounge, order the electric blue “Mr. Freeze”- it’s no surprise that Go Go Lounge is considered one of the the top 10 bars in the whole entire world. The decor is a swingin’ psychedelic romp reminiscent of The Prisoner and if you like to be fondled, you can sit in a giant hand chair while you order drinks from menus printed on vintage records. We sampled the “King Kong”, “Mr. Freeze”, “Kryptonite”, the “Hello Kitty”, which is a lychee martini, and a big black cocktail that reminded me of my childhood. It’s called “Sweet Tart” and tastes exactly how it sounds.
We continued North into Mile End and hit Baldwin Barmacie. Baldwin Barmacie is a chic bar that specializes in modern cocktails with an antique flair. The bar itself is sleek and dressed up like an old pharmacy. The decor essentially reaffirms what everyone already knows, that alcohol really is best medicine. The bartenders are helpful apothecaries who made us their signature “Bloody Dirty Martini”. It was like a spicy caesar with a twist which was a nice change of pace from the sugar high that left us buzzing from Go Go Lounge.
Finally our last stop was L’Assommoir. It’s the perfect bar for a night cap. L’Assommoir is a dark, cozy yet sleek bar that favours fresh ingredients and has an extensive cocktail list. For our final martini, we selected the “Casino Royale” which is the classic James Bond martini. Any martini drinker worth their salt knows this martini is a must. Although the martini was stiff, it felt like I was drinking a good, hard lesson. Difficult at first, but in the end I’m better for it.
Deville Diner Bar, 1425 Stanley, (514) 281-6556
Jello Martini Lounge, 151 Rue Ontario East, (514) 285 2009
Go Go Lounge, 3682 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, (514) 286-0882
Baldwin Barmacie, 115 Laurier Ouest, (514) 276-4282
L’Assommoir, Multiple Locations