You say patio, we say terrasse. Whatever you call it, when the weather is nice the place to be is under the open sky. And what’s better than a terrasse in Montreal? Why, a rooftop terrasse in Montreal! Here are some of my faves.
TERRASSE + HAPPY HOUR + PANORAMIC VIEWS
Altitude 737, Terrasse Place d’Armes, and Terrasse Nelligan: After a hardcore Canadian winter, Montreal’s favourite pastime is simply chillin’ outside with good friends and choice libations. If you’re new to the city, you may want to head first to Altitude 737 Restaurant Club Lounge atop the Place Ville Marie, which is that downtown skyscraper built in the shape of a cross. In good weather on Thursdays and Fridays, enjoy a cinq-à-sept drink (“happy hour” from 5pm to 7pm), 47 floors up in the air! You’ll also discover a restaurant (open for lunch and dinner) and nightclub that offer panoramic views of the city, putting you at eye level with the peak of Mont Royal.
If you’re looking to hang out with the cool crowd, venture into Old Montreal to Terrasse Nelligan – the cherry on top of Hotel Nelligan. Rub elbows with the city’s young professionals and take in the urban skyline around you. This posh patio closes at 11pm, so if you’re up (no pun intended) for a night-cap, walk over a few blocks and take the elevator at Suite 701 straight up to the Terrasse Place d’Armes at Hotel Place d’Armes, which is open till 3am, weather permitting. They’ve recently added a nice retractable awning, so don’t let the rain keep you away. Cocktail tip: I like the raspberry mojito.
TERRASSE + FREE OUTDOOR POOL + PAID BAR
La Terrasse Magnétic: Hotel de la Montagne’s La Terrasse Magnétic is a much more lively spot (read: pick-up joint) with enough good-looking people and hard bodies to make you feel like an outsider if you fit into neither category. There’s no change room or locker, so you’ll have to do your quick change in the washroom and keep your stuff by your side. Here, it’s BYOT (towel), or you can borrow one with a $10 deposit. The pool has a capacity of 57 and is open from 11:30am to 3am until Labour Day weekend (Sept. 4, 2011), and gets crazy busy whenever the sun is out. They only allow up to 203 people up there, so check the weather report in advance if you hope to nab a good spot. Admission is free but you have to order something at the bar or resto. And it’s 18 years or older only after 8pm. Best nights for happy hour are Wednesdays through Saturdays, but if it’s hot on a Monday, you can bet it’s a happy – and crowded – Monday.
TERRASSE + FIREWORKS + ENTERTAINMENT
Terrasse sur l’Auberge: People always ask me where’s the best spot to watch the fireworks. Personally, I like to go to Pont Jacques Cartier or La Ronde. I did recently go, however, to Terrasse sur l’Auberge to try their dinner-plus-fireworks special. This is a hidden gem that fills up very quickly so make sure to reserve ahead. Guests get a fixed menu, bar service and the opportunity to enjoy the fireworks with an unrestricted view – and all this while comfortably seated.
Altitude 737 Restaurant Club Lounge, 4 Place Ville Marie, (514) 397-0737
Bar Soleil, 900 rue de la Gauchetière ouest, (514) 878-2332
Terrasse Magnétic, 1430 rue de la Montagne, (514) 288-5656
Terrasse Nelligan, 100 rue Saint-Paul ouest, (514) 788-4000
Terrasse Place d’Armes, 701 côte de la Place d’Armes, (514) 904-1201
Terrasse sur l’Auberge, 97 rue de la Commune East, (514) 876-0081