It can be easy to get stuck between the walls of the McGill University campus, working in the libraries, or playing spikeball on the grassy field (before it snows). Sometimes you just need to get away from it all, but not too far. If you’re looking for a quick date between lectures or a night out, these easy and fun hangout spots near campus are for you.
From the laid back, breezy atmosphere of cafes to the dark and sexy vibe of cocktails, downtown Montreal has a little bit of everything for you and your sweetheart.
CHAI tea room
Price: $5 to $7 for tea
Address: 3506 Park Avenue, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: tea, bubble tea, cupcakes, pastries, study space and comfy sofas – what more could you ask for? This café is a very discreet place for a first date. It’s simple, cute, and accessible, with enough variety that you can both get what you want. There are often quiet people studying at this one, so if you’re looking for romantic intimacy, this might not be the one for you. But for a friendly, low-stakes, tasty date, it’s a great choice.
Cafe St. Barts
Price: $14 to $18 for lunch
Address: 3500, ave du Parc, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: Located right next to the CHAI Tea Room, this slightly more elevated cafe offers breakfast and lunch plates as well as coffees and teas. Also a popular place to study, the smaller tables make it a little less comfortable to spread out and get your work done. It’s a nice, sunny space, perfect for getting lost in each other’s conversations. For a light, tasty and intimate date, you can’t go wrong here.
Price: Around $13 for a (very good) sandwich
Address: 3990 Saint-Urbain Street, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: The best time to enjoy this cozy and comforting cafe is now, before winter closes down their lovely green space in the back, where you and your date can discuss the merits of the sandwiches unique to Santropol. A nice place to be regardless of how good the date is, it’s also a good place to study (but only in reserved areas) and a coworking space.
Price: $15 to $17 for a main dish
Address: 545 Milton Street, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: This mostly vegan restaurant is a favorite of the McGill community, so if you haven’t considered it yet, maybe make some other savvy Montreal friends. Make a reservation and enjoy their veggie-centric meals and appetizers to share. Located in the student district that surrounds McGill, this restaurant is as easy to access as it is to enjoy. You can even write a note to mark your first date, and place it in the drawers stuffed with notes (it will make sense once you get there).
Price: ~$14 for a meal, slightly less for cocktails
Address: 156, rue Roy E, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: This beloved local restaurant serves food and often alcohol at discounted prices — keep an eye out for their happy hours and make the most of that student money. The vibe here is more laid back and friendly, putting a little less pressure on that first encounter with someone. If you want a drink and a good meal without straying too far from the music library, this is the place to be.
Pullman Wine Bar
Price: $10 to $20 per glass
Address: 3424 Park Avenue, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: This chic wine bar on Park Avenue is quite stylish and upscale, but retains a hipster edge. Serving small plates and wine by the glass or bottle, this is a place to go to impress your date without straying too far from the campus you might call home. Bring someone here to show off your chic side with a cozy interior that’ll encourage good conversation!
The locker room
Price: ~$17 on average per cocktail (more expensive than average, prepare accordingly)
Address: 2175, rue de la Montagne, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: It’s for when you go all out. Drinks aren’t cheap and you’ll have to choose your day and time wisely – the interior is quite small. But the Cloakroom’s intimate speakeasy experience is well worth it, especially with the bar’s menu-less, vibe-based approach. Just tell them what type of drink you fancy and they’ll whip up a delicious cocktail to suit your tastes. Student budgets can tend to be small, but sometimes the date is worth it.
Price: $5 to $10 for a beer, $12 to $14 for a cocktail
Address: 4328, boul. St Laurent, Montreal, QC
Why you should go: This beautifully decorated bar tends towards a chatty, friendly energy, perfect for that awkward get-to-know-you vibe on a first date. The Darling offers lunch and dinner, so don’t worry about going hungry. It’s a little further from campus than the other options on this list, but that doesn’t take away from the vibe (and reasonably priced drinks).