Montreal’s nightlife – from early-evening drinks on a sun-drenched patio to late-night bar-hopping and dancing – adds another party-making dimension to the Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 6…
Many of the city’s best hotels embody the Jazz Festival spirit, livening up not only their room offers but their hotel bar creations. Tourism Montreal recommends several, including Loews Hotel Vogue on de La Montagne, home of the “Le Jazz sur Glace (Jazz on Ice)” – a refreshing blend of Canadian whiskey, rum and white cranberry juice. Jazz Fest partner hotels – the Hyatt Regency, Hotel St. Paul, Le Saint-Martin Hôtel Particulier, Square Phillips Hotel & Suites and L’Appartement Hotel – are also centrally-located and cater to the thirsty whims of festival-goers. While Old Montreal’s many boutique hotels, from the W Hotel to Hôtel Gault, Hôtel St Paul and the Saint James, stay as scrupulous about their wine and spirits lists as they do about the luxurious heights of their speciality accommodations.
Downtown’s Crescent Street constantly hops with activity late into the night, from the Sir Winston Churchill Pub Complex to Hurley’s Irish Pub. Nearby on Mackay Street, a favourite of jazz fans all year round, the Upstairs Jazz Club remains a cozy mainstay of the festival, with live concerts every night. Go for art-deco glamour at Time Supper Club or visit the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, jazzing up its bar and lounge for the festival. And bask in the aroma of La Casa del Habano cigar shop and lounge, a favourite spot to relax in the Golden Square Mile district during the Jazz Fest, featuring one of North America’s largest walk in humidors and an elegant lounge well-stocked with whiskeys, rums, wine and other spirits to pair with fine Cuban cigars.
Just as music from around the world makes its way to Montreal during the Jazz Festival, so does fantastic wine – the city’s wine bars decant the best. Montreal hasn’t missed out on the boom in microbreweries either: downtown, find new and tried-and-true brews at Benelux, Cheval Blanc, Brutopia, L’amere a Boire, Le Saint Bock, and Les Soeurs Grises.
Nightclubs stay open until 3 a.m. every night, during Jazz Fest or otherwise, and feature drink specials and a wide array of music, from top-40 to classic soul to high-RPM electronic dance music. Make a late night of it in Old Montreal, along Saint-Laurent, and in the Plateau neighbourhood along more-alternative Mont-Royal Avenue. Gather friends for a Girls Night Out or a Guys Night Out, whichever suits your fancy, or hold tight to your beau throughout a romantic evening meant for two.
When in doubt, go DIY and gather some picnic essentials – bread, cheese, locally-made sausages, fresh fruit and Quebec-crafted wine and beer, available from most depanneurs (corner stores) and provincially-run SAQ liquor stores – and head to one of the city’s big parks, such as Mont Royal, Jeanne-Mance and Parc La Fontaine. Escaping the urban core is even easier at Espace La Fontaine, a bar and restaurant with open-air terrasse located in Parc La Fontaine, where on July 3 and 4, live music by the Maude Locat trio accompanies summertime food and drink specials.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 26 to July 6, 2014
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