send to printer

Canada Nightlife

1079 Mainland Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6B 5P9
Tel: 604 602 0835

It may not be the most original concept in nightlife—Buddha Bar, anyone?—but an Asian-themed chill-out lounge still has an easy appeal for those who'd rather avoid the sweaty crush of a club. AFTERglow is the 50-seat addition to Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar, the hottest restaurant in Yaletown circa 2002. But since it's an unusual offering in Vancouver, AFTERglow has the corner on the fashionably dressed crowd who want to sway and nod to mildly energetic tunes instead of breaking a sweat, and thirtysomethings who actually want to converse as part of their mating ritual. The after-work scene is especially good on Wednesdays: You can sip expensive cocktails on mood-lit sofas, and the tasting-style menu means you can easily make this a two-cocktail-and-two-bites substitute for dinner.—Cathay Che

Open Sundays through Wednesdays 5 pm to midnight, Thursdays through Saturdays 5 pm to 1 am.

110 Banff Avenue
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1C8
Tel: 403 760 5300

The pheromones fly at Aurora nightclub, where the vibe is flirty, the clientele young, and the music loud. The dance floor jumps with DJ music (techno and hip-hop, mostly), though the martini bar is more conversation-friendly. Oh, love in a mountain town.

Open Wednesdays through Sundays 9 pm to 2 am.

Baldwin Barmacie
115 Laurier Street West
Mile End
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2T 2N6

Paying homage to the owner's grandmother's pharmacy, Baldwin Barmacie has a remedy for what ails you: a menu of beer, wine, Champagne, and other sparklers from Italy, France, and Portugal, plus an endless formulary of cocktails. Located in the Mile End neighborhood, the crowd is snappily dressed and intellectual—and often engaged in loud debate under clusters of bubbly orange lights that recall vitamin E capsules. Arrive before midnight if you want a seat, but you'll probably end up shaking it anyway, to funk, electro, or top 40 and alternative dance hits, depending on the night.

5245 St. Laurent Boulevard
Mile End
Montréal , Québec
Canada H2T 1S4
Tel: 514 276 0249

A minimalist wine bar in the happening Mile End neighborhood, Bu benefits from having a young and easygoing staff with a no-snobbery approach to wine connoisseurship. As a result, Bu is an inviting stop for both newcomers and aficionados. Twenty-five vintages are available weekly by the glass, and the bottle list is 500 strong. A bonus for the thirtysomething crowd: It's open late and also serves small Italian dishes, such as vitello tonnato or Caprese salad.

26 John Street
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5V 2E3
Tel: 416 979 9346

New York club king Peter Gatien came straight back to his hometown of Toronto when he was kicked out of the United States after drug charges and tax evasion, but his tail is definitely not between his legs. His latest superclub—a 55,000-square-foot monster called Circa—may be the biggest, boldest nighttime playground going. Art installations, mannequins in fetish wear, and even a Kidrobot toy boutique all play a part in a Friday event called Randomland—"a party that is art." If that stuff doesn't get your attention, the pounding bass generated by the main room's 35-speaker sound system surely will. The crowd is clubby, and patrons tend to wear clothes that advertise the fact that they have a gym membership. An indoor holding pen keeps the line off the street and moving, a welcome state of affairs on cold winter nights.

Open Fridays and Saturdays 10 pm to 4 am.

Dubh Linn Gate Old Irish Pub
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside Hotel
170-4320 Sundial Crescent
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 905 4047

Come for après ski—the pub sits a couple of ski-lengths away from the snow—and stay for the craic, Irish for a nonstop party. The live Celtic music and 20-ounce Irish pints help keep it going.

Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill
4165 Spring Lane (above the Whistler Village Gondola)
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 905 2220

A ski-up type of place, at lunchtime it's a restaurant; in mid-afternoon, it's a sprawling patio for drinking locally brewed Kokanees or Caesars (Canada's answer to a Bloody Mary, only with vodka and clamato juice). After dark, it's a thumping lounge where vinyl-spinning DJs bridge the gap between après ski and late-night.

Gay Village
Montréal , Québec

Montréal's gay clubbers are young, sexy, and plugged in. Leading the party cry is Le Parking, where dancers of all orientations pulse to a different genre each night—save Fridays and Saturdays, which are reserved for les garçons. DJ Frigid has a hot-blooded following, making his Sunday night Electruck party a fun and sweaty romp for both sexes. Le Parking is located just off St. Catherine Street, the main artery for gay life (1296 Amherst St.;; Thurs.–Sun. 10 p.m.–3 a.m.). For those who don't like to dance, or who prefer to just relax in style, there's Le Drugstore, a gay-friendly entertainment complex with eight bars and a few pool tables. The city's lesbian population frequents this place on Friday nights (1366 St. Catherine St. E.; 514-524-1960; daily, 8 a.m.–3 a.m.). Cabaret Mado is a straight-up drag bar with live performances and dancing, and a happy hour between 4 and 9 (1115 St. Catherine St. E.; 514-525-7566;; daily, 11 a.m.–3 a.m.). After the clubs close, head to Stereo, an enormous after-hours affair for shirtless Tom of Finland types as well as straight dancers who want to keep on beyond the break of dawn. The lineup is studded with star DJs like Austin Leeds and Steve Porter (858 St. Catherine St. E.; 514-286-0325;; Fri.–Sat., 2 a.m.–11 a.m.).

132 Queens Quay E.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5A 3Y5
Tel: 416 869 0045

More of a partying megacomplex than a nightclub, this factory-size edifice near the waterfront is divided into nine different rooms. The Main Room is ground zero for the city's electronic dance music scene on Saturday nights. The slightly larger Koolhaus—not actually a separate house—hosts live acts, while local DJs keep the other rooms happening. Past musical guests include the Black Eyed Peas, Nine Inch Nails, and Wolfmother.

Opens Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm.

Horseshoe Tavern
368 Queen Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5V 2A2
Tel: 416 598 4753

Want to discover music's next big thing? Check out who's playing at the Horseshoe, a tavern that's been featuring live acts for 60 years. Local heroes Feist, Broken Social Scene, Metric, Death From Above 1979, and Sloane have all entertained the faithful at this venerable establishment. Tickets for most shows only sell out the day of, so get in line before 9 pm, when the doors open. Inside, it's a down-home tavern, with a stage, some booths, plenty of standing room, and a bar. With a capacity of just 350, it's about as intimate a rock 'n' roll setting as you can find in a big city.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 9 pm to 1 am, Fridays and Saturdays 9 pm to 2:30 am.

Montréal , Québec

Montréal is famous for its summer Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, held in late June through early July. The free shows are great, but check out the website well in advance to pick up tickets to the gala events; they sell out briskly. The programming includes a very broad definition of jazz: Bob Dylan, Angélique Kidjo, and Harry Connick, Jr. are all part of the 2007 lineup ( Of course, fans can get their fix year-round at the House of Jazz, an elegant Louisiana-inspired restaurant and entertainment venue downtown. Expect to hear the finest in live Canadian jazz from performers such as Oscar Peterson (2060 Aylmer St.; 514-842-8656; Nearby, Upstairs jazz bar hosts a revolving roster of young Montréal and Toronto jazz singers and musicians—check out the jam sessions here during the Jazz Fest (1254 Mackay St.; 514-931-6808;

Live Concerts
Montréal , Québec

Montréal is a haven for live music. Most established indie acts play at Sala Rossa, a Spanish social center on St. Laurent Boulevard, where the grubbiness of the concert hall is offset by an old-fashioned chandelier (4848 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-284-0122; Across the street is sister establishment Casa Del Popolo, a little sandwich joint where up-and-coming bands play to squished audiences—arrive early (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-284-3804; Located in the Plateau, Le Divan Orange is more restrained, with an upright piano, cozy couches, and a menu of gourmet salads. The music is usually less trendy, with a focus on rock, jazz, and world beat (4234 St. Laurent Blvd.; 514-840-9090;

192 Bloor Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Canada M5S 1T8
Tel: 416 929 7169

As its name implies, this see-and-be-seen Yorkville fixture is intended to mimic the sophisticated, clubby feel of a boutique hotel lobby. Located further uptown than Ultra Supper Club and Guvernment, it draws a fashion-forward thirtysomething crowd sipping pricey vodka martinis while draped over white leather couches or jockeying for hangout room at an onyx bar.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 5 pm to 2 am.

Longhorn Saloon
Carleton Lodge
4284 Mountain Square
Whistler , British Columbia
Canada V0N 1B4
Tel: 604 932 5999

You've just finished an incredible day on the mountain, your endorphins are running high, and you're more than ready to down a beer (or three), eat some poutine or buffalo wings, and recount the glories of the day. Happily, the Longhorn Saloon stands at the ready directly across from the Whistler Village Gondola. The inside isn't noteworthy, but the massive deck and its glorious mountain views draw a crowd of young, free-spirited skiers and boarders—seats outside can be hard to come by on epic afternoons, but they're well worth the wait. Late night at the Longhorn is nothing special, except for Sunday nights, when the locals turn up in droves.

Open daily 9 am to 1 am.

466 Dovercourt
Toronto , Ontario
Tel: 416 533 9311

Once the city's only grandmother-run after-hours club, the Matador may now just be the world's only great-grandmother-run after-hours club. Opened in 1969, the former country-music dance hall hosts classic-rock tribute bands that belt it out at volume 11 until the sun comes up to a mixed but friendly crowd of late-night revelers. If there's a film shooting in town, you might just see a celeb partying into the wee hours (Harrison Ford is a big fan). 

Open Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 pm to 5:30 am.

Monk's Grill
4555 Blackcomb Way
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 932 9677

Located near Blackcomb's Wizard lift, the bar inside this steak-and-seafood joint is a good place to play pool or watch satellite TV near the granite fireplace and just enjoy the vibe. For some reason, it's also disproportionately popular with Australians.

Opus Bar
Opus Hotel
350 Davie Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6B 5Z6
Tel: 604 642 0557

Check into the Opus Hotel on a Friday afternoon, and you'd never guess that the quiet bar just off the lobby completely transforms into one of the city's hottest lounges come nightfall. At the witching hour, the hippest crowd in town—the beautiful people as well as the creative types behind Vancouver's burgeoning fashion/art/music scene—suddenly mob the lobby, dancing around tables, sipping cocktails, and trying not to bump into the DJ stand. The bar's roster of local vinyl spinners is an A-list of Vancouver's best, and celeb appearances have included Hed Kandi, Ministry of Sound, and even Ashton Kutcher. A flimsy rope cordons off the tiny "dance floor," and people are often very tipsy and having a ball until 3 am. No wonder the hotel's turndown service includes leaving earplugs on the nightstands.—Updated by Kasey Wilson

Open Mondays through Thursdays 5 pm to 2 am, Fridays and Saturdays 5 pm to 3 am, Sundays 5 pm to 1 am.

Pop Opera
686 West Hastings
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6B 1P1
Tel: 604 633 3988

The spirit of Andy Warhol is alive and well in the exploding plastic disco balls and white vinyl sofas bathed in violet light at this South Beach–style club that burst upon the scene in 2008. There are VIP booths and table service here—something newish for Vancouver—but most of the action happens in one midsize room. So even if you don't pay the premium, you can literally see and be seen by everyone, whether you're a big spender or just a pedestrian on the dance floor. Vigorous booty-shaking to shameless top 40 hits (Kanye, Rihanna, Beyoncé) is fun and unselfconscious, and special celebrity appearances at the turntables, such as DJ AM, ensure a packed venue, especially since it's only open Fridays and Saturdays. Since this is Vancouver, not New York or London, as long as you make an attempt to dress stylishly you'll get in the door—even if you're no longer a member of the Gossip Girl demographic that dominates the crowd.—Cathay Che

Open Fridays and Saturdays 10 pm to 3 am.

1026 Granville Street
Vancouver , British Columbia
Canada V6Z 1L5
Tel: 604 678 1049

Sanafir (Arabic for "meeting place") is a sexy casbah oasis on Granville Street's entertainment row. Affluent movers and shakers balance atop ultra-hip cube seats on the lower level or rub elbows with visiting celebs on richly upholstered beds in the upstairs lounge. There's an inventive and exotic menu that offers mezze platters, tajines, and curries with exceptional flavors at decent prices. The bar has an interesting selection of cocktails—the Marrakesh martini has apple liqueur, Cointreau, mint, apple purée, and sparkling wine—and an extensive collection of vintage Champagnes as well as fun wines to quaff in quantity.—Kasey Wilson

Open daily 5 pm to midnight.

Savage Beagle
4222 Village Stroll
Whistler , British Columbia
Tel: 604 938 3337

If you want to hear yourself talking, head upstairs to the martini lounge. Downstairs is for outright partying among the tourists, locals, and mountain workers. Tuesday is the Beagle's signature night, when DJs from Vancouver spin dance music and house, and drinks are sinfully cheap.

St. James's Gate
207 Wolf Street
Banff , Alberta
Canada T1L 1C2
Tel: 403 762 9355

How Irish is St. James's Gate? The entire pub was built in Dublin, taken apart, and shipped to Banff. Most of its furniture, fixtures, and artifacts (like framed Irish Curses) hail from the Emerald Isle. There are a variety of single-malt whiskies and 33 beers on tap, including Sleeman's, Guinness, Harp, Smithwick, and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale.

Open daily 11 am to 1 am.

Ultra Supper Club
314 Queen Street W.
Toronto , Ontario
Tel: 416 263 0330

Despite its name, the real attractions of this slightly hidden enclave of cocktails and small talk are the lounge and dance floor, as the late-night lineup of Porsches, Bentleys, and Ferraris outside affirms. Inside, you'll find a lush, highly textured space with fur pillows and chocolate banquettes juxtaposed with curved plastic and Eames Eiffel–style chairs.  The dress code, like the crowd, is "upscale casual." If it's warm, make for the large open-air patio, where white-on-white couches put the focus on the sparkling skyline. A tip: Make nice with the bouncers. They don't respond favorably to attitude.

Opens Mondays through Saturdays at 5:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.