Quebec City is not especially known for its nightlife, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t like to have fun. Bars and pubs are open late, and it’s easy to find a good drink. Recently we’ve seen the cocktail trend picking up speed at bars and restaurants downtown, with professional mixologists shaking and stirring creations that are taking us out of our comfort zone, presenting us drinks with flavors from our own terroir, such as Canadian gin and maple syrup. Interestingly, many of those new cocktails are being served in restaurants, including two located in the city’s best hotels, Château Frontenac and Auberge Saint-Antoine. They provide the perfect excuse to visit those fine establishments—if you’re not already treating yourself to a stay there. And this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a gem of a place that many would like to keep secret, Bar Sainte-Angèle, the ideal place to sip perfectly blended classic cocktails (remember those?) without having to dress up.
L’Atelier is one of a handful of Grande-Allée restaurants that is not only popular with tourists, but locals as well. We go for the impressive cocktail menu created by mixologists: drinks feature cheeky names, presentations guaranteed to impress, high-end liquors, and intriguing flavor combinations. DJs liven things up on weekends, and the large terrace provides excellent people-watching opportunities.
The casual café of award-winning Auberge Saint-Antoine is a lounge situated in the hotel’s beautiful main hall. Leather wing chairs, plush sofas, refined finger food, and carefully crafted cocktails are all invitations to transform lazy afternoons into cozy nights. Three-hundred-year old objects, artefacts discovered during the hotel’s excavation, decorate the space and make great conversation starters.
Le Sam, Bistro Évolutif
A new restaurant located inside iconic Château Frontenac, Le Sam (short for Samuel de Champlain, the city’s founder) is part restaurant, part lounge. The brass-and-blue color palette and art deco accents create an ambiance reminiscent of the 1920s. Live music some nights, beautifully presented, house-created cocktails, and a panoramic view over the St. Lawrence River all guarantee a night to remember.
An actual “hole-in-the-wall” hidden in a small street of the Old City, Bar Sainte-Angèle is a cozy pub where locals and visitors mix to chat, drink, and sometimes listen to live jazz music performed by musicians sitting only inches from the crowd. The place is known for its long list of classic cocktails served in pitchers. Surprisingly reasonable prices make you forget you’re sitting in the most touristy part of the city.