Montréal is tailor made for bachelor party action, and planning is key if you don’t want the big night out to devolve into another episode of herding cats. When devising your game plan, we suggest you break the night down into three distinct phases:
First: A bit of manly competition to kick things off
It’s always best to work up a bit of an appetite before heading out on the town, and Montréal is far from short on bachelor-party-appropriate activities to get the ball rolling. (And let’s be honest: there’s no joy quite like the joy of beating your best buds in front of your best buds.)
First off, the new Maniax “friendly urban axe-throwing” sport centre bills itself as “like darts, but a hundred times more awesome,” and we won’t beg to differ. Bachelor party packages are available. Still on the exertional side, the athletically inclined bachelor gang will want to raise their gaze to the Horizon Roc Climbing Centre, which offers more than 300 routes on over 27,000 square feet of climbable surface. Also amazing is their indoor “Acro ∞ Parc,” featuring a high-ropes course (tree-to-tree style, up to 40 feet high), a zipline and slacklines.
If the guys are feeling a need for speed, we’ve got that too. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to strap into an F1 race car and take it out on the track, Vortex Racing in the Montréal suburb of Dorval offers the experience, albeit without the stress of wrecking your $5 million ride. Their custom F1 simulators (which cost around $400,000 apiece) are the next best thing to the real thing, and teams of racers are welcome.
For those who want the authentic stink of oil and rubber in their nostrils, Action 500 go-karting is definitely the way to, er, go. Boasting the largest indoor go-karting track in Canada (and a paintball course to boot), groups of eight or more can reserve the whole track for themselves.
And what’s a bachelor party without that other “b” word? By that, of course, we mean beer. Montréal Craft Beer Tours is offering a “hangover friendly” bachelor party craft beer walking tour of three noteworthy brewpubs. And in this instance only, you aren’t the competitors (no, this is not a beer drinking competition). Instead, the six local brews offered on the tour will be competing for your taste buds’ affection. Helping things along, the beers will be paired with small poutines, local charcuterie, cheese and chocolate.
Second: Some civilized, pre-party eats. And by eats we mean steaks
Before the lunacy, or rather, revelry starts, you’re going to need to put down a solid base. And top-quality steaks are the go-to bachelor party tradition. Always a serious contender for best steakhouse in town, Moishes has a range of beautifully cured steaks, and don’t dare miss out on their Monte Carlo. (It’s also a virtual stone’s throw from a number of popular/trendy watering holes – like Blizzarts, Blue Dog, Laika, Perfecto and Reservoir – especially if you’ve got a good arm.)
The new-ish Plateau Mont-Royal location of Steak Frites on St. Denis Street is a very a propos venue for bachelor party pre-eats not just because it enjoys a sweet location a few short blocks away from St. Laurent Blvd. (a.k.a. The Main) and Mont-Royal Avenue, but also because it’s BYOB and it’s directly across the street from an SAQ (Montreal’s provincially run liquor stores).
Downtown, Bier Markt’s char-grilled, butter-covered steaks are not only the bomb, they also come with your choice of 150 types of beer from 30 different countries. It’s located in the former Queue de Cheval Steakhouse, speaking of which… Queue de Cheval (now nearby in an old mansion on Rue de la Montagne) is also at the top of the list of primo grilled-meat eateries, and its famous dry-aged steaks (35 to 45 days) are a bachelor party no-brainer.
Old Montréal is definitely another way to go, especially for Montréal first-timers on a tight sched. The double-baked potato and “Baseball Steak” knock it out of the park at the “Old Faithful” of steakhouses, The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. And the rib steak is one of the musts at old world, Old Montréal meat-eating institution Gibbys, while great service, great ambiance (a wood-burning fireplace!) and great steaks to match are the raison d’être of MTL fave Le Vieux-Port Steakhouse.
No bachelor gathering is complete without a pub crawl, and we have two proposed routes. First, we suggest hitting Crescent Street and Bishop Street downtown (they run parallel to each other). On Bishop, check out Grumpy’s (always a party with live tunes), Jimbo’s Pub (check out live comedy upstairs at ComedyWorks) and McKibbins Irish Pub (you won’t want to leave) before heading over to Crescent for Mad Hatter (the name speaks for itself), Thursday’s (great energy to match one of the best terrasses in town), Hurley’s Irish Pub (a real-deal Emerald Isle institution) and, of course, Brutopia (very cool seasonal brewpub and party place).
For those in your party who are perhaps a little more adventurous, who might want to get a taste of “le vrai Montréal,” we recommend a Mont-Royal Avenue bar tour that doesn’t stray far from easily accessible Mont-Royal metro. Start at Plan B (great back terrasse) and head to Bily Kun (absinthe and ostrich heads on the wall, ’nuff said), Bar Inc. (classic, comfy neighbourhood bar), Taverne Saint-Sacrement (great music and cheap eats), Chez Baptiste (très chic, très fun), Bar Le Mont-Royal (authentic Plateau bar with great view of the street action), Barraca (rum anyone?) and Taverne Normand (fun tunes, casual crowd and usually a game on the TVs).
Good luck and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.