Posted on July 6th, 2011 by .

Montrealers like nothing better than a patio (or “terrasse”) in summer, our long winters make sure of that. But while the city’s sidewalk culture and the thriving see-and-be-seen patio scene screams “look at me, I’m super hot!”, there are still plenty of us that prefer a quiet place to call our own, sip our drinks and check each other out in a more surreptitious way. Here, we share some of the more off-the-beaten-track-places to enjoy a cold drink, or several…

Pub Le Sainte Elisabeth: Ask pretty much any seasoned Montreal drinker where their favourite outdoor drinking spot is and they’re likely to point you in the direction of this classy little joint near the Quartier des Spectacles—near, but not too near, if you get my drift. The bar describes itself as a “European-style pub”, by which they probably mean their locale is pretty, and classy, but you can still get your drink on. Their tree-lined terrace (pictured above) is a Montreal classic, with enough greenery to make you breath easy on those hot summer nights. The beer is especially cold too. 1412 Rue Sainte-Elisabeth, (514) 286-4302

La Croissanterie Figaro: When I was an undergrad, this place was called La Croissanterie, and it’s where I brought my west-coast parents to make them feel like they were in Paris. They changed the name about a decade ago; they still have croissants, it still feels like Paris, and it’s still the best place to hide away in leafy Eurobliss under scarlet parasols in the Mile End. It’s tucked away on the corner of Hutchison and Fairmount; that’s what makes it secret. 5200 Hutchison, (514) 278-6567

Casa Del Popolo: This happening café, bar and live-music venue is a famous outpost in the Mile End, however their back patio is somewhat secret, being in the back and all. All lit with twinkly string lights that make us feel like we’re in Italy or something, this patio is the best place to cool off from a packed show or just a packed DJ night, or just cool off. 4873 Saint-Laurent, (514) 284-3804

Le Dépanneur Café: Their backyard is more modest than some of these other well-established playas of Montreal’s terrasse set, but it’s cute and sweet and, well, pretty secret. This Bernard Street café is known for folk acts in the afternoons and delicious grilled cheeses. 206 Bernard West, (514) 271-9357

MYSTERY PATIO: This leafy lettuce-lined back porch is by far my favourite place in Montreal to sit in the open air right now. Long banquette tables are lined up under a canopy, lined by brimming boxes of greens, lettuces and chicories. They’re far ahead of the curve in terms of urban agriculture, these guys. Can you guess where this terrasse is?

Hint #1: You may get smells wafting over from Fred Morin’s smoker, or from the wormwood they have growing in the yard for basement batches of homemade absinthe…

Hint #2: Read this post about Restaurant Patios in Montreal

If you think I’ve missed some great Secret Patios in Montreal, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section!


  1. AXC

    / Jul 7th

    Good hints!

  2. Don

    / Jul 7th

    Lili & Oli, Notre Dame West. Great coffee, good vibrations….low-key and cool.

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