McKibbins Irish Pub is a mainstay for ‘Irish’ pub culture in Montreal. There are three locations; one in the West Island, one on rue Bishop, and one on St. Laurent. Each invites passersby to “Come in and experience a little bit of Ireland in your own backyard!” As a frequent visitor of the St. Laurent location, I can tell you that they aren’t lying. The warm décor is reminiscent of an updated cottage cabin with its long wooden bar, multiple cozy booths, and Irish memorabilia that can be found all around the pub.
If that didn’t get you feeling Irish, the drink choices most certainly will. The bar is well stocked, and carries over 24 imported beers on tap. In addition to their wide array of cocktails, McKibbins has an impressive food menu that won’t break the bank, although it isn’t designed for a student budget. The highlight of the menu is the “Guinness Experience” section, which includes choices from nachos to wings, to burgers, all of which have some form of Guinness incorporated. The pub is a great place to go with a friend for a drink or two, but it is also a great place to go as a group if you’re looking for dinner and drinks.
The staff is very willing to accommodate large groups, rearrange tables, and are more than happy to put on the sports game of your choice (go Habs!) if you came out to enjoy the game with a buddy. What makes McKibbins stand out from other Irish pubs is the live music—which frequents their stage with two to three sets per night—and their authentic Irish step-dancing performances. So if you ever want a Celtic night, head to 3515 St. Laurent, and try an Irish Car Bomb; it’ll definitely start you off on the right foot.
—Natassja Di Battista
For those looking to travel a little farther beyond the McGill bubble than St. Laurent, Crescent Street boasts an impressive selection of bars and clubs, but none so appealing as its very own Irish pub, Hurley’s. Located at 1225 Crescent, this bar is a popular destination for Montreal night life, and definitely has the space to accommodate this reputation. There are so many entrances to Hurley’s that you can take your pick for what seems like a block, and so many different areas inside that you have to be exceedingly cautious not to lose your friends or you might never find them again. That said, Hurley’s is one of the friendliest bars I’ve come across during my time in Montreal; you can always make some new acquaintances on your search for the old ones. Different parts of the bar offer different atmospheres—some loud and raucous, some more intimate. There’s a place for you no matter what your mood.
With at least three bars, the Hurley’s drink menu offers over 50 different single malts, 16 whiskeys, and 19 beers on tap, so no one goes thirsty. There is also a full menu, that includes all the usual bar food suspects, but also extends to some more exotic options like mango chutney chicken, and Bailey’s cheesecake. Prices are reasonable, but if you go for both dinner and a night of drinking, the bill can easily run away on you.
As far as entertainment goes,—aside from its delightful patrons—Hurley’s features nightly live music on both the first and second floor, usually (surprise, surprise) of the Irish variety. They also have a sports corner, with a full schedule of the programming they plan to show available on their website—rugby, hurling, and UFC, among others. With so much going on, it’s not hard to find a good time waiting for you at Hurley’s, whether you go with one friend, or ten. Stop by for a night of Irish antics, or simply for a relaxing drink.