Boasting English pub décor and a friendly atmosphere, this Lower Town watering hole is a must. The pub derives its name from one Thomas Dunn of Durham, England, who came to Québec after the British took over in 1760. By 1808, after holding a variety of titles, Mr. Dunn fell into ownership of the Cap Diamond Brewery. Today, this pub celebrates the contributions of its namesake. Sample one or three "tasters" from their extensive selection of local and imported brews. For a hearty meal, try Québec smoked meat or the pub sausage. On a liquids-only diet? Then try a few of their more than 150 imported beers.
Billed as Québec's top disco spot, this three-story club offers live entertainment on the first floor, while the other two levels have dance floors, TVs and video games. This popular spot doesn't really get going until well after 11pm, when an eclectic mix of local students and young professionals joins up with international tourists to dance the night away. If you're looking for a place to be seen and be part of the scene, this is it.
If you want to sample excellent local brews, this is the place to do so. Located in the Old Port area, this homey brewpub is a popular after-work destination for area business-types. Inside, you'll find an inviting, pub-style atmosphere conducive to hanging out and tossing back a few, although the highlight of this watering hole is definitely its spacious terrace – a great place to watch river traffic go by, especially at night. Not just your run-of-the-mill, beer-slinging dive, this microbrewery also caters to the needs of connoisseurs by offering such delightful snackables as artisanal cheeses.
That little voice in the back of your head may disagree, but go ahead and walk into this narrow Rue Saint-Jean dive, where locals gather to hang out, watch the tube and check out daily beer specials. Note the old stone fireplace and the interesting juxtaposition of stone and red-brick walls, making it seem as though you're actually between two different buildings. The décor is, at best, offbeat – but cozily so, including church house style flooring, groovy lighting and a foosball table that may have arrived with the first settlers. Best of all are the beers on tap, including St. Ambroise Noire and Griffon (make sure you say "Grrrriffon!" when you order).
Despite the rather odd name – it's across from a small church – this is one of those off-beat places that make Québec so special. Indeed, this Haute-Ville watering hole boasts what may be "the best terrace in town" (a shameless but valid bit of self-promotion, to be sure). Though the inside is little more than your average Québec bar, this Rue Saint-Jean favorite draws high marks for its bartenders and regulars, who eagerly engage unfamiliar faces in friendly conversation. Indeed, if there is such a place as home-away-from-home, cozy Sacrilege Terrasse is a haven for many.
The popular Chez Maurice occupies a converted three-story mansion. On Friday nights, be prepared to shake your booty at their Disco Fever dance party. Other nights, you can just dance the night away to Latin, blues and house music selections – maybe even a little Chinese shadow dancing for a more exotic evening twist. Dress to impress, but make sure what you wear is great for dancing. In the summer, the porch area, which sits one floor above street-level, is a great place to cool off and watch the action on Grand-allée. For a break, you can even head down to the Société Cigar for a good stogie and smooth jazz or Cosmos Café for a more relaxed atmosphere.
A multi-level club with three distinct spaces, this always-busy nightspot offers a variety of options, from drag shows to video poker to dancing. Le Drague is at the center of Québec's lively gay scene, and a portion of the club is designated "men only," but the rest is open to all, and the staff and clientele are friendly and welcoming. Catch an entertaining show or join in the karaoke fun in the cabaret upstairs, then head down to the disco, where a resident DJ spins house and techno for an appreciative and energetic audience.
The cutting edge Le Boudoir has two levels to accommodate virtually everyone's nightlife preferences. Upstairs, one DJ spins an eclectic assortment of lounge-y global electronica every night for a contingent of savvy (and well-dressed) urbanites, while another spins danceable world music in the club downstairs on Thursday-Saturday nights. The club's vibrating dance floor and state of the art light and sound systems draw an energetic, cosmopolitan crowd. Refreshments are in the form of a plethora of inventive cocktails such as the Boudoir Martini, a bold combination of vodka, triple sec, ice wine, champagne and peach syrup.
The exotic Aviatic Club, located in Québec's historic train station, stands as one of the city's premier international dining locations, serving dishes from Japan, South America and Thailand. The Club maintains particular popularity with the business crowd, who like to use its bar and lounge area as a place for after-work cocktails. Indeed, this classy lounge is a wonderful spot to take an important business client for before- or after-dinner drinks.
Taking over where the Atomic Ant left off, Temps Partiel continues the cooperative approach with exhibits of local art and a roster of local and regional bands. When there's not a band, DJs spin a variety of alternative music, from punk and metal to goth and indie. The crowd varies from night to night depending on the music, but you can count on finding the coolest, most alternative Québecers here. Call ahead to see what's on the night you plan to attend.