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Marc Staal (New York Rangers) and Phillip Danault (Montreal Canadiens) during the third playoff game
Marc Staal (New York Rangers) and Phillip Danault (Montreal Canadiens) during the third playoff game
Jared Silber / Getty Images

12 Less-Obvious Spots For Watching Playoff Hockey

For when you want bouffe, beer, and a backdrop a step above the average sports bar

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Marc Staal (New York Rangers) and Phillip Danault (Montreal Canadiens) during the third playoff game
| Jared Silber / Getty Images

It’s that time again, folks — the Habs are well into the playoffs, and bleu, blanc et rouge fever has completely taken over Montreal. Even the buses cheer "GO HABS GO", so you should probably get yourself to a place with a good screen, a jersey-clad crowd, and some great food and drink to take the edge off the game stress.

We’re hoping for a good, long playoff season, with lots of opportunities to eat tons of passable pub food and wash it down with plenty of just-OK beer. However, if you want to get away from the standard bars and pubs for an upgraded playoff-watching experience this year (read: one slightly less stale-beer-sticky tables and floors), we’ve got a whole batch of amazing restaurants and bars that are looking to host you, and your Habs jersey.

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Maison Publique

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It’s not often that you can say that you watched the playoffs while eating truly incredible food at one of the best restaurants in Canada — but at Maison Publique, this dream can come true.
David Ferguson's Beaubien Street favourite has a famous caesar salad, with dressing made to order and an optional scoop of caviar. It’s about as decadent as salad can get, and there’s no better time than the playoffs to get a little hedonistic. You can also try the horse tartare, oysters, or moules frites while you cheer, jeer, or cry (of joy or sadness) as the game goes on.
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Icehouse

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This well-loved tiny Plateau restaurant is the perfect place to watch the playoffs: their terrasse is open, offering one of few outdoor spots to see the game. Their outstanding fried chicken, Tex-Mex tacos and burritos, and cheddar jalapeno poppers make for sublime game-watching fare, and their bourbon lemonade is out of this world.

Bar Palco

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This great Verdun spot has a deal on Renard Blonde during the match, with pints for only $5. If Renard Blonde isn’t your favourite, they have dozens of others on tap, and a serious range of amazing cocktails. Their small but creative food menu strikes a balance between bar food and something a little more formal: there’s a beet veggie burger, moussaka, a charcuterie platter, among others.

Grumman 78

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Forget nachos and other bar grub, sate your playoff anxiety with something one notch higher — horse tartare, perhaps, or prime steak tacos. The St-Henri HQ of this resto-truck double act will give it to you, along with the game on a large screen.

Chez Lavigne

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There’s not a lot of wine bars showing the playoffs around here, but if you’re a combination hockeyphile-oenophile, Chez Lavigne is the place for you. The well-curated list of natural wines will get you through a nail-biter, and creative dishes like their hot mussels (in the style of a hot chicken sandwich), or scallops and calamari with papaya puree and chorizo will be at the ready if you get a little snacky.

Kampai Garden

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Kampai Garden is huge but manages to feel cozy, thanks to a plethora of plants and copious use of antique furniture. Come here to watch the game, enjoy a pitcher of one of their signature cocktails, and order a few sharing plates like shrimp pogos, oysters, and kung pao beef tartare to munch on during overtime and beyond.

Pub Pit Caribou

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This newish Plateau microbrewery with Gaspesie-brewed beers has a great casual-but-fun atmosphere with unique, delicious beers and small plates for snacking. They usually have a sour beer on tap, so you can find a beer to match your mood if the game doesn’t go our way.

Fitzroy

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This gorgeous beer and pool hall has a pretty unbeatable playoffs deal: one kilo of chicken wings and one pitcher of Fitz Blonde for $33. They’ve got a giant screen, so if you want to actually be able to see the beads of sweat and furrowed brows of the players, Fitzroy will serve your needs.

Ping Pong Club

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If you find that you’re getting a little restless while watching the game, you can take out your nervous energy at a ping pong table while watching. Nachos, wings, and beer are at the ready, but fancier fare like peanut chicken skewers and cocktail pitchers are available too.

Bruno Sport Bar

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Fine, it's a sports bar so it's maybe not the least obvious hockey spot, but Bruno Sport Bar is the home to the best Italian panini in the city: the Italian Mix. Paper-thin cured meats are sliced to order and piled onto a sub, topped with mayo and mustard, spicy marinated eggplant, provolone, lettuce and tomato. This panini with a pint of beer is the best sport-watching combo around, and you’d walk right by the place if you didn’t know it was there. Their espresso is solid, too.

Huis Clos

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This Villeray neighbourhood spot is excited about the playoffs: so much so that they’ve got some very solid booze deals for the duration of each game: $5.50 will get you a pint of house beer, and $3 will get you a shot of jager. A DJ plays while the game is running, and you can also throw back a few oysters if you’re feeling fancy.

Maison Publique

It’s not often that you can say that you watched the playoffs while eating truly incredible food at one of the best restaurants in Canada — but at Maison Publique, this dream can come true.

Gus

David Ferguson's Beaubien Street favourite has a famous caesar salad, with dressing made to order and an optional scoop of caviar. It’s about as decadent as salad can get, and there’s no better time than the playoffs to get a little hedonistic. You can also try the horse tartare, oysters, or moules frites while you cheer, jeer, or cry (of joy or sadness) as the game goes on.
Gus

Icehouse

This well-loved tiny Plateau restaurant is the perfect place to watch the playoffs: their terrasse is open, offering one of few outdoor spots to see the game. Their outstanding fried chicken, Tex-Mex tacos and burritos, and cheddar jalapeno poppers make for sublime game-watching fare, and their bourbon lemonade is out of this world.

Bar Palco

This great Verdun spot has a deal on Renard Blonde during the match, with pints for only $5. If Renard Blonde isn’t your favourite, they have dozens of others on tap, and a serious range of amazing cocktails. Their small but creative food menu strikes a balance between bar food and something a little more formal: there’s a beet veggie burger, moussaka, a charcuterie platter, among others.

Grumman 78

Forget nachos and other bar grub, sate your playoff anxiety with something one notch higher — horse tartare, perhaps, or prime steak tacos. The St-Henri HQ of this resto-truck double act will give it to you, along with the game on a large screen.

Chez Lavigne

There’s not a lot of wine bars showing the playoffs around here, but if you’re a combination hockeyphile-oenophile, Chez Lavigne is the place for you. The well-curated list of natural wines will get you through a nail-biter, and creative dishes like their hot mussels (in the style of a hot chicken sandwich), or scallops and calamari with papaya puree and chorizo will be at the ready if you get a little snacky.

Kampai Garden

Kampai Garden is huge but manages to feel cozy, thanks to a plethora of plants and copious use of antique furniture. Come here to watch the game, enjoy a pitcher of one of their signature cocktails, and order a few sharing plates like shrimp pogos, oysters, and kung pao beef tartare to munch on during overtime and beyond.

Pub Pit Caribou

This newish Plateau microbrewery with Gaspesie-brewed beers has a great casual-but-fun atmosphere with unique, delicious beers and small plates for snacking. They usually have a sour beer on tap, so you can find a beer to match your mood if the game doesn’t go our way.

Fitzroy

This gorgeous beer and pool hall has a pretty unbeatable playoffs deal: one kilo of chicken wings and one pitcher of Fitz Blonde for $33. They’ve got a giant screen, so if you want to actually be able to see the beads of sweat and furrowed brows of the players, Fitzroy will serve your needs.

Ping Pong Club

If you find that you’re getting a little restless while watching the game, you can take out your nervous energy at a ping pong table while watching. Nachos, wings, and beer are at the ready, but fancier fare like peanut chicken skewers and cocktail pitchers are available too.

Bruno Sport Bar

Fine, it's a sports bar so it's maybe not the least obvious hockey spot, but Bruno Sport Bar is the home to the best Italian panini in the city: the Italian Mix. Paper-thin cured meats are sliced to order and piled onto a sub, topped with mayo and mustard, spicy marinated eggplant, provolone, lettuce and tomato. This panini with a pint of beer is the best sport-watching combo around, and you’d walk right by the place if you didn’t know it was there. Their espresso is solid, too.

Huis Clos

This Villeray neighbourhood spot is excited about the playoffs: so much so that they’ve got some very solid booze deals for the duration of each game: $5.50 will get you a pint of house beer, and $3 will get you a shot of jager. A DJ plays while the game is running, and you can also throw back a few oysters if you’re feeling fancy.

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