Gear up for a pub crawl across the heart of the city to sample a diverse drinking scene with the latest last-call time (2:45 a.m.) in Canada. Start off just outside Mile End in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie at Vices et Versa, where you can try 35 beers on tap (from $5.75 a pint), all produced by Quebec microbreweries. (Despite being known for wine, the French colonists who settled Quebec hailed from regions in which beer was far more dominant.) Next, sip Hill’s Absinth from the Czech Republic ($12) under mounted ostrich heads at Bily Kun, a high-ceilinged, candlelit space where classical and jazz piano performances add to the cozy vibe. End the night at unapologetically divey Barfly, where you can shoot pool, order cheap beer and shots, and dance with Quebecois fans of country and bluegrass.
Let loose at clubs in the Village, North America’s largest gay district, where a loud, colorful scene spills onto the streets until 3 a.m. Warm up with hip-hop beats at Club Unity (no cover before 10:30 p.m. on Fridays, 11 p.m. on Saturdays; $7 after), a three-floor megaclub at the neighborhood’s center before dancing with Francophone drag queens performing at Sky Club’s “Le Sky Show” (Friday nights at 10:30 p.m.; no cover). With a pub on the first level, two stories of dance floors, and a hot tub and pool on the roof, it’s one of area’s most massive destinations. Stay up until sunrise at the legendary Circus After Hours, a strictly late-night spot (2 to 10 a.m). They don’t serve alcohol, but a steep cover ($30) buys you access to three rooms with upholstered purple leather walls and techno sets rated among the world’s very best in DJ Mag’s 2012 roundup.
Catch a concert at one of Montreal’s popular live-music halls. For indie rock, head to Casa del Popolo’s larger sister venue La Sala Rossa, a rustic, chandelier-lit room where Arcade Fire got their start ten years ago. You can hear everything from punk to bluegrass (and play a round of foosball) at Divan Orange, where there’s a show every night of the week in an intimate, fuchsia-walled room where gold-framed photographs hang on the walls. For something more raucous, go downtown to Les Foufounes Electriques ($5 cover) (“the electric buttocks” in French), one of the world’s largest metal bars, which will be hosting legends Napalm Death on Oct. 31, not to mention D.J.s and dancing every night on the first floor.