The average university student is, more often than not, stressed about schoolwork, on a tight budget, and always in need of ways to relax. It follows that there are a multitude of places to de-stress over drinks at a very low cost. In addition to the good deals, drinking on campus—rather than venturing to Crescent or Saint-Laurent—support student initiatives and build campus community. The following is a full list of the best places on campus to grab a drink with friends after a long day of classes.
Braving the harsh Montreal winters not only builds a McGill student’s character, it also fosters a greater appreciation of the little time when Montreal is actually warm. There is no greater way to enjoy the good weather than with inexpensive brews, burgers, and live music on campus, an unique experience one can only find at OAP. Brought to students by the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), the set-up of OAP at Three Bares Park is designed by McGill engineering students, and includes a stage for various local McGill and Montreal musical acts to perform every night.
“I feel like [OAP] is a nice way to end off the summer and welcome in the new school year,” Emma Little, U1 Engineering said. “Beyond the burgers and cheap beer, the atmosphere is very low-key, lax and inviting.” During the first two weeks of school, OAP brings McGill students closer to one another and to the Montreal music scene, taking full advantage of Montreal’s beautiful weather and the stress-free freedom of the add/drop period.
Gerts, the student bar in the basement of the Shatner building, is the year-round watering hole where any and all brands of McGill students can be found, regardless of major, faculty, or affiliation. Since its founding in 1974, Gerts has aimed to build community by providing a safe and accessible place for students to gather, socialize, and unwind. Clubs and student groups can rent out Gerts’ to host themed fundraising events, allowing students to contribute to good causes while enjoying cheap drinks. Lines are longest on Wednesday evenings—more commonly known as “Sangria Wednesdays”—when McGill students gather for good deals on tasty pitchers of Sangria, among other inexpensive drinks available at the bar.
According to Zach Brown, “[Gerts] is loud, but not overly so […] it’s not too chill, but it’s not too live and overwhelming either. The atmosphere is pretty friendly, even if you’re by yourself or with one or two people.” Despite newfound competition with Ace Bar, an off-campus bistro-pub that similarly offers Sangria and fills up quickly on Wednesday nights, many McGill students have remained loyal to this on-campus gem, carrying on the long-lived saying, “Gerts ‘til it hurts.”
Another piece of paradise put on by the EUS, Blues Pub is a weekly pub held on Friday evenings in the Engineering Common Room, located in the basement of McConnell Engineering. Timed perfectly with the end of the schoolweek, Blues Pub provides students with a space to unwind and socialize after a long week of classes, over cheap beers and grilled cheese. Each Friday’s event is hosted by a different Engineering department, club, or committee, along with a different theme in decor and music.
“The environment at Blues Pub is quirky, because it’s usually almost only engineers, so you’ll always see friends and people you know,” Isaac Eckert, U2 Science, explained. “Everyone knows everyone.”
4 à 7
The Management Undergraduate Society (MUS) never fails to host great events throughout the year that bring students closer together. Among these gems is the MUS’ happy hour, 4 à 7, held on select Thursday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the basement of Bronfman, to celebrate the near end of the week. Beers and grilled cheese cost a mere one or two dollars respectively, making 4 à 7 one of the most cost-effective ways to start the weekend early.
“4 à 7 is very social and welcoming,” said Michael Kalman, U1 Marketing. “Walking in, you get lots of high fives and fist bumps. It’s a good place to meet up with friends.” Though 4 à 7 is mostly frequented by Desautels students, the events are open to all faculties, even those with 4 p.m. classes.
Bar des Arts
A product of the Arts Undergraduate Society, Bar des Arts (BDA) is a weekly pub night held on Thursdays from 5p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Arts Lounge, located in the basement of Leacock. Student departmental associations and clubs within the Faculty of Arts can apply to be featured at BDA, using this platform as a way to gain publicity within the faculty and student body. In addition to competitively cheap brews, BDA often serves staple foods that the average McGill student has grown to love, such as samosas and poutine. BDA’s timing on Thursdays puts it in competition with Desautels’ 4 à 7, creating a playful rivalry between the two student pubs, but it’s hard to go wrong attending either one on Thursday afternoons.