What are you doing this weekend? The answer is in our Hotspot section, where every Friday, we share favourite spots to sip a cocktail, grab a bite and, come morning, brunch that pesky hangover away. See you there!
🍸 An Evening at Bremner’s
Tucked in an Old Montreal basement across from Marché Bonsecours, 362 Saint-Paul St. is a spot everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Sure, you could grab a table Le Bremner to enjoy oysters or try the lamb heart but given that this restaurant has a killer cocktail list, you’ll want to sit at the bar and be close to the action.
There are eight cocktails to choose from. They’re numbered, not named (an inspired idea from the maître d’hôtel) and come to think of it, you should probably try them all. The oldest, no2, reads a little uninspired on paper: “Jamieson, ginger, Angostura” but it actually bursts with flavour. The ginger is invigorating while the ensemble is balanced, refreshing and so, so good.
Other noteworthy drinks on the list? No3, a bold mix of peach, pepper, lime and Cazadores served in a coupe, and no7, a refreshing concoction featuring tequila and cilantro, blended and served in an Old Fashioned glass.
These drinks stand out from the usual fare because, among other things, every single syrup and soda is homemade. The herbaceous, fruity or spicy flavours pop with crisp, true flavour. In other words, you’ll never find yourself half-heartedly sipping a drink that’s watery or cloyingly sweet. All this hard work and expertise comes at a price, of course: about $15 per glass. But full disclosure, it might just the best $15 you’ll ever spend.
You have to go to Le Bremner because the talented barmen are having a blast and it shows, the waiters are discrete and efficient, there’s a tiny heated patio in the back, and your night’s soundtrack will include everything from Bob Marley to Santana to Tame Impala.
Are you still reading? Grab a reso and go! You’ll be glad that you did.
🍴Larry and Me
If you go to Larry’s, you’re going to have a great night—easy as that. Whether you’re going with a hot date, your mom or your bestie, everyone will be happy. Come early and the vibe is chill but around 8 p.m., things start to turn up.
People pile up at the door, the tiny dining room is packed and the decibel level climbs higher and higher. And for good reason, as the Larry’s formula is foolproof: great food, good-looking people, and a reasonable bill at the end of the night. Critics might say that the prices are a little steep but when you know that the owners use only local ingredients and meat sourced from responsible sources, it makes the few extra dollars well worth it.
If you’re in the mood for comfort food, order the spaghetti, which regulars love. The fried cauliflower delivers the perfect combination of soft and crisp, with a lemony zip that’s addictive. The pork literally melts in your mouth and yes, it’s likely the best you’ll ever have.
Thirsty? The beer and wine selection doesn’t disappoint. Otherwise, pay Mile End prices—think $12+ per drink—for inspired cocktails, like the Larry’s Spritz (Aperol, Amaro and bubbles) and the Réunion (white port, lime, grapefruit and bitters). Come hungry, though: You have to eat to drink.
The Larry’s vibe is chic, simple and low-key. In other words, a neighbourhood haunt to enjoy again and again.
🥓 Brunch, anyone?
Tucked on the border of Little Italy and Mile End, there’s a restaurant worth dragging yourself out of bed for. The space is adorable, the portions are generous, the coffee is on point, the homemade pastries are killer, and everything is affordable.
At Butterblume, brunch is served on weekends only and the menu changes constantly but the amount of detail that goes into every single dish means you’ll never be disappointed with your order—promise. Every plate is fresh, deliberate and perfectly executed. Plus, the presentation is so pretty (the owners have a soft spot for design and you can tell in both the decor and dishes) that every dish is highly Instagrammable.
Outside of brunch hours, try the tartine—a heap of delicious things served atop a thick slice of homemade bread that’s a guaranteed hit. As for cocktails—the best brunches are always boozy anyway, right?—order the London Fall or the jacked-up lemonade and you’ll be sipping happy.
This cute spot is super busy on weekends and reservations are a no go but don’t let the line-up deter you. It’s well worth standing around for a few minutes, especially since you can enjoy the smell of fresh baked bread, grab a coffee at the coffee counter, and start telling your girls about last night while you wait. We’ll be back.