13 Jun 2022

Time 9 minutes

48 hours with friends in Old Montreal

48 hours with friends in Old Montreal

The Montreal Grand Prix always brings out the best in Old Montreal – outings, restaurants, bars, etc. Follow this guide to plan the best Grand Prix weekend with friends, and get in both the race and other fun events exclusive to the historic neighbourhood.

Here’s the itinerary built around the 2022 Grand Prix schedule!

If you would like to arrive early on Thursday or Friday evening, find our selection of boutique hotels here and get the best out of your weekend in le Vieux:

Friday, June 17th - the Trials

Race times:

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. - first round of free trials

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. - second round of free trials

In the neighbourhood:

Being in town on Friday gives you several solid options for dinner:

Pub St-Pierre is an infallible choice. We like it for its sophistication, but it’s never stuffy and you’ll get a beautiful plate, a great portion, the exact cook you want, and top-notch service every time.

Helena is top-of-the-line as far as Portuguese food places go. Want to eat well, try some of the flavours of Portugal, and make some good memories in a trendy and enjoyable setting? No need to ask any more questions, this is your destination right here.

Now that the free trials are finished, time to make a pit stop for happy hour and a cocktail to kick off the weekend:

Wolf and Workman: In good weather and bad, it’s always a beautiful time in this pub on St-Paul Street. When the weather is fair, the terrace in front is a great place to retreat from the street. Otherwise, the inside of the restaurant just as comfortable as your living room and you can settle right in for a drink or a meal without hassle. If you’re looking for places to go out after, ask the staff here – they’re very knowledgeable about the neighbourhood!

El Pequeño: The smallest bar in Canada (less than 10 seats!) is still among the top ranking ones in the industry, and sets itself apart by its immensely talented mixologists. Its impeccable retro Cuban DNA in its decor and cocktails earned it 29th place in the World’s 50 Best Bars 2022. Chic, intimate, and award-winning, starting at 6 p.m. you should drop by and give it a shot.

Let’s keep the momentum going with some trendy and festive addresses for dinner:

Club Chasse et Pêche: Fans of good meat and great drinks need to stop here to celebrate this special weekend. For nearly 20 years, this excellent restaurant in the historic neighbourhood has reinvented our favourite traditional recipes. We come here for the veal and duck sweetbreads, but fans of red meat or fish will be satisfied with their menu as well. Fancy ambiance and elaborate dishes, always a sure success.

L’Orignal: With its low-key entryway, this “chalet chic” establishment has only recently started getting noticed. Since 2008, this place has been a safe bet for comforting food in an elegant and warm ambiance. And as for our go-to choice, we like their bison burger paired with their Maple Old Fashioned – the heights of what you can achieve in a cocktail. This is a great spot to meet up with friends!

Going out on Friday evening should be the best way to kick of this Grand Prix weekend. To start, here are two highly loved local addresses:

Le Santos: Here, you can let yourself go on the dance floor, and gladly offer shots to the bartender when you want to share a drink with him. With a festive atmosphere like something out of your dreams, you may just want to come back the next weekend and the next! It feels like home and their tropical cocktail pitchers have even been lauded by Nightlife!

Flyjin: Recently reopened, this is THE trendy club among those working in the hospitality sector and in local businesses around le Vieux. Here people like to wave to others they know, dance to the boom of the music, and enjoy themselves to the fullest until closing. It’s a great location with a Japanese-inspired menu combined with Latino American accents, and excellent resident DJs!


Saturday, June 18th - the Qualifiers

Race times:

11:50 p.m. to 12:20 p.m. pit stop practices

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. third round of free trials

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. qualifier round

First of all we’ll start out with a good morning coffee, and for the best one, you’ll need to seek out Olimpico. This Montreal institution needs no further introduction, and we love how their baristas always remember our previous order whenever we come back. Don’t sleep on European-style cafés – this Italian café will give you the boost you need to keep you going throughout the day. And that’s no doubt the very reason this place is so popular among the locals!

After getting your first taste of the ambiance around the Grand Prix, if you find yourself lacking the ideal outfit, we’ve thought of you as well! Look through our article on styles for the Grand Prix, to get yourself well-dressed and fitting in perfectly in le Vieux.

If you need to keep up with your fitness routine, we suggest taking a trip to Panda Boxing. Its subdued atmosphere is perfect for making strides in your training! Here at this urban gym well-outfitted with effective equipment, their motto is “getting out of your comfort zone”. You can work out by yourself, with friends, or join one of their Bags and Body classes. It opens at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Don’t forget to grab a smoothie from Café Ludo as you leave to start your day off strong! If you want a fun group activity to do, go see Samuel and his team for a zipline tour of Old Montreal, great fun guaranteed!

Whether you’re going for Saturday lunch or brunch, there are solid choices in the neighbourhood:

Cartet is a notorious brunch rendez-vous spot for nearly two decades in Old Montreal. Fans of eggs (hard boiled or Benedict), here is your little corner of paradise serving up well-stacked plates. If you’re in a group, you might want to make reservations, but don’t skip out on this restaurant!

Do you prefer a less casual stop for your lunches? Then we’ll send you to Vallier. Start off with their onion soup, a real classic. Then their burger is our top pick, their poutine with shredded duck is a guaranteed success, and you can rest assured that their chimichurri beef flank steak is a decadent indulgence that you won’t be able to resist.

The evening off to a good start turns toward Happy Hour:

Terrasse William Gray will give you a great view over le Vieux and a wonderful intro to the evening with all the class and charm you would expect from this neighbourhood. From the eighth floor of this historic building, you’ll get to look out over Place Jacques-Cartier, the Saint-Lawrence river, and the Grande Roue de Montreal ferris wheel. We love coming here to sip on refreshing cocktails, summery wines and beers.

Now we move on to some more serious things, and for that, Old Montreal boasts some unforgettable restaurants to dine at:

Auberge St Gabriel: a hostel since 1688, this institution has stayed very modern throughout the years while staying true to its roots. It has gourmet banquets and a festive atmosphere, and you shouldn’t miss out on one of the best cuts of beef in the city. Or spoil yourself with the bone marrow, mushrooms, persillade, veal jus, and croutons. And for dessert, you could even just choose with your eyes closed, they’re all good.

The Farsides is open until 2 in the morning on weekends, making this the ideal “pre-party” place and you can count on a couple “Blue Thaiwaiian” - their signature Thai and Hawaiian cocktail - to put you in a good enough mood to join the neighbouring dancefloor. Don’t leave without tasting some of their Surf n’ Turf or Thaiwaiian steak, you will thank us for introducing you to this chic tiki inspired bar.

The night has only just begun, experience the heights of Montreal nightlife. Don’t forget to make reservations in advance!

If you ever dine at Auberge Saint-Gabriel, you shouldn’t leave without visiting Velvet. This intimate speakeasy is reminiscent of the Parisian catacombs, and its historic accents will plunge you into a unique world! Here, you’ll vibe with the sound of techno, house, electronic, and pop presented by DJs of renown. The night is short when the ambiance is good!

Fans of tequila and mezcal, fans of carefully constructed cocktails, those nostalgic for Mexico, the Clandestino is your spot. As soon as you descend the stairs to this unique place, you’re spirited away to a different world – one of desperados, urban adventurers, and party connoisseurs

As an end of night pizza is always appreciated, head over to Slice and Soda (whose staff you may have passed in Olimpico earlier in the morning) for some satisfying and fairly generous slices that are always fresh! More in the mood for a sub? A few blocks down, Franklin’s subs and suds is your place!


Sunday, June 19th - the Race

Race times:

12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Driver’s Parade

2:00 p.m.: Race

Morning Coffee: You can either return to Olimpico, or you explore some other excellent cafés in le Vieux. We would recommend Structure Coffee Roasters on McGill Street. With their expert and passionate baristas, you will be sure to find a cup of coffee to fit your palate. Good mood guaranteed, caffeine assured.

Brunch: At Maggie Oakes, you should spend your morning at the table before the big race during the afternoon. A refined version of eggs and bacon exists? It does here. Mango and coconut pancakes do as well. Not to mention the excellent steak and eggs for those who are starving and want an extremely gourmet dish. You can get it here at Maggie Oakes. Chic, rich, good.


N.B.: Is your establishment not mentioned here, but could fit in with the theme? Don’t hesitate to write to us at info@sdcvieuxmontreal.com and we will be happy to include it here.