Outdoor Sitting Pretty

Although hardly believable, summer's officially here and where better to soak up some rays in close company while throwing back some ki...

Although hardly believable, summer's officially here and where better to soak up some rays in close company while throwing back some killer food and drinks than on one of the city's appealing open-air patios. To help you start in on your 'must-hit bucket list' here are 5 of the city's good old standbys, back this summer to heat up your al fresco evenings, each one with an added twist of their own. Personally we think you'll want to be seen sipping on them all. 

Terrasses Bonsecours, 364 de la Commune East, Quai du Vieux-Port

Entering its 7th season, this multi-level domed complex proves the old adage that location is everything with a 360-view of the St-Lawrence, Downtown, and Old MTL, plus a near-perfect orientation to gorgeous sunsets. The events (and crowds they entice) are mixed and so you'll want to carefully pick your poison between boozy hangover brunches, upbeat 5-à-7's, and wild nights at the upstairs club.

The press launch had us converge at the downstairs terrasse, itself decked out as a tropical oasis that served as the backdrop for a buzzing and festive party. Branded selfie sticks were the genius accessory of the evening, and kept us busy snapping and hash-tagging away while we threw back BBQ tapas and savory bites from a kitchen which has vastly improved of late, all washed down with refreshing summer cocktails.


New City Gas, 950 Ottawa St.

In one of the city's most successful large-scale repurposing of historic architecture, multi-use entertainment venue New City Gas counts a west and south terrasse, both 'perch-perfect' in spaces that are oh-so inviting. Grey and white sofa seating on fake astroturf is bottle-service ready and, surrounded by original brick walls, has a definite 'pretty amid the gritty' vibe. Colour and accessory hits from alcohol partner Veuve-Clicquot's unmistakable yellow complement the look. The layout is smart and functional with the end of the large central bar nearest the entrance offering the best view of a room full of the young business types and urbanites out to indulge, unwind, and get their happy hour on.

With the terrasses open Thursday evenings from 5-11pm through the season it leaves plenty of time to mingle and sample from NCG's brand new 60-seat pop-up kitchen, Matador. From 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and 7pm on Saturdays, enjoy a tempting assortment of tacos and ceviches, paired with a signature cocktail from Nectar Consulting + Bar Design's master mixologist Lawrence Picard. If it seems like he's everywhere these days it's with good reason given his popularity and expertise. This year he returns with a novel selection of summer-inspired quenchers.


Le Newtown Rooftop Terrasse, 1476 Crescent St.

With a plethora of other outdoor choices on tried and true Crescent Street, the top floor of the Newtown building on the corner of de Maisonneuve is our uptown entry on the list, thanks largely to beautiful views of the mountain, and a summer drink near and dear to the hearts of Montrealers: mojitos!

Open as of 5pm Monday to Saturday all summer long the new rooftop Mojito Bar not only improves upon the classic combo of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint, but takes it way further with flavour - try ordering a Mora azul (blueberry) or Naranja (orange) for a refreshing change, or an El Pimms for lovers of the British cocktail.

The launch party was nothing short of a fiesta as staff glammed-up in colourful Cuban-inspired bow ties by Humphreys, and circled with trays of the new Latin-infused additions to the menu, while press and guests lined up for a delicious assembled-to order ceviche table and took in the buzzing action on the street below.


Labarake, 3165 Rachel East (@Midway)

We love seeing a good thing made better, and such was the case at the recent 1-year anniversary bash for Angus Shops 'it' spot Labarake, Caserne à Manger.  The talent of new Head Chef Joaquimm Henni (ex Barocco/Bocata, Auberge St-Gabriel), a constantly evolving menu focused on winning urban cuisine with a French twist, and the fact that it's just slightly out of the way in Rosemont for diehard downtowners has added loads to its appeal and sheer destination cachet.

At the soirée, media and VIP indulged in some of the star dishes that helped make their success (the beef tartar, fish and chips, and tuna lollipops should all be REQUIRED ordering), along with some new additions like salmon goat cheese with pappardelle and swiss chard, beef mushroom tartines with Ricotta Cheese, and BBQ pork burgers.  Rest assured, though, we're told that old favourites will still be available. Anchoring the scads of balloons was the clever touch of 'take and make' rice pudding kits.

The adjoining terrasse is solid, fits in seamlessly with the architectural charm of the old fire station set in the former Canadian Pacific factory complex, itself a well-preserved urban landmark. We remarked on what a great spot for a glass or two of wine (none cost more than 10$!), or brunch option on breezy summer weekends.


Scena, Pavillon Jacques-Cartier, Quai Jacques-Cartier

An alternative to Terrasses Bonsecours down the harbour, a 5a7 at Scena feels like an hour-or-two vacation. We sipped our glasses of bubbly and revelled in the warm glow of the late sunset at the media launch for their 'Oasis Thursdays' 5-7, loving the urban-beach vibe. 

Hungry? Whether you’re looking to snack on something fresh, salty, or fried, their Mediterranean inspired menu will not leave you unsatisfied. We thoroughly enjoyed their charcuterie platter (prosciutto, porchetta, duck, terrine, salami, beets, olives, tzatziki, and a smattering of 2 mustards) as well as the cod fish cakes and fried calamari. Fun fact: they season their food with herbs from the small planters found around the edges of the terrasse.

As for drinks, listen up, ladies! We recommend the Oasis Thursday 5a7 special, when you can order 2 glasses of bubbly for $11. Their wine list is quite accessible with affordable options in addition to the higher priced ones and they also have a few specialty cocktails.  


D.G. & H.H.


Veuve Clicquot 6974566058477595529

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