Even if you can’t skate to save your life and have only ever used a hockey stick to push out items that fell behind the dresser, it’s impossible not to get caught up in Montreal’s NHL hockey fever.
The Habs’ unexpected performance in the 2010 Stanley Cup had everyone cheering “Halak it like that!” and although the Cup itself remained elusive, fans were counting down the days for the new season to start.
Whether you live in Montreal or are visiting for the first time, don’t miss seeing a Habs game at any one of these great spots.
The Bell Centre
The obvious first choice for any Habs fan is the Bell Centre downtown, which is ground zero for the Montreal Canadiens. Although tickets can be pricey, there is nothing quite like taking in a game in this chilly space.
The sound of blades scraping the ice, bodies slamming into the sideboards and fans screaming “olééé-olé-olé-olééé!” as the players shoot and score will stay with you long after everyone pours out of the stadium into the frozen Montreal night.
Located just southwest of downtown, in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood, this fantastic English pub is an extremely popular spot to watch the game. When the tables fill up, the crowd around the bar swells. In addition to its decent list of British beers, Burgundy Lion serves classic English fare like bangers and mash, Ploughman’s lunch, and shepherd’s pie.
You’ll be hard-pressed to hear any English spoken in this fantastic francophone Plateau bar where every seat fills up way in advance of the puck drop on game nights. Hockey is such a major focus that they have projector screens set up at the front and back of the bar, as well as about a half dozen mounted TVs in between to ensure that everyone gets a clear view of every second of play.
Technically they do serve food (grilled cheese or chile) but your best bet is to stick with the unshelled peanuts, which come in brown paper lunch bags filled to the brim. The décor is unintentionally retro and there’s a big disco ball in the middle of the bar that they turn the spotlight on whenever the Habs score a goal. During the playoffs, reservations (yes, reservations) are a must.
La Cage Au Sport
If you’re looking for a sports bar, this is the place to go. This testosterone-fuelled Quebecois franchise offers the perfect venue for a guy’s night out. The décor is decidedly masculine, there’s Molson’s on tap and the menu features such classics as chicken wings and ribs. Sleek televisions broadcast every sporting event you can think of, from hockey to boxing to Formula 1 car racing.
Photos courtesy of skippyjon, spcbrass & Burgundy Lion