We at The Main understand that navigating Montreal’s dating scene doesn’t always come easy. In fact, now that dating apps are completely changing the game, it can be pretty overwhelming. Sure, Tinder’s a useful tool for easing yourself back into the dating pool. But if the thought of swiping left or right doesn’t exactly entice you, fear not — there’s still plenty of other ways to meet single people around Montreal. We’ve picked out a few of our own recommendations for those looking to get back out there.
Hang Out by the Bar
Your first instinct when looking to meet someone new might be to grab a friend and head to your favourite bar. But it’s more than just where you go, it’s where you sit when you get there — rather than trying to snag a table, try hanging out near the bar. Not only does that put you in a spot where people are constantly passing by as they order drinks, but you’ll likely find some new friends already sitting there and, at the very least, a few fun bartenders to chat with too.
Going somewhere you like is a good way to meet people with similar tastes, but we personally love going to Bishop & Bagg (52 Rue Saint Viateur O) and Burgundy Lion (2496 Rue Notre-Dame O). These two British pubs are actually owned by the same people, and both have the kind of casual, yet sometimes slightly rowdy atmospheres that make meeting new people a breeze. Majestique (4105 Boul St-Laurent), a late-night eatery and bar on St-Laurent, Loïc (5001 Rue Notre-Dame O), a laid-back wine bar in St-Henri, and Sparrow (5322 Boul St-Laurent), a classic pub in the Mile-End, are also all great places to find friendly staff and patrons alike.
Walk the Dog
You know how sometimes it seems like the last thing people are willing to do is say hi to one another, let alone acknowledge each other’s existence? Well, if you (or generous friends of yours) have a dog, then you’re in luck. In our experience, this becomes a lot harder to do when your dogs have stopped to sniff each other’s butts. It’s common practice for dog owners to stop and wait as their pups say hello, and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to do the same.
For prime dog walking opportunities, head to a local dog park where lots of pet owners are known to hang out and chat as their pups play. Nice big parks like Parc Lafontaine, Parc Jeanne Mance, Parc Laurier, and Parc Notre-Dame-de-Grâce will give your canine friend plenty of room to run around and make new pals of their own.
Hit the Dancefloor
Even if you’re not necessarily looking for romance, hitting the dance floor is a proven cure for a broken heart. For those looking for killer playlists with all the oldies your heart desires and a young-ish crowd (think early 20’s), head to Rockette (4479 St Denis), where Thursday nights are said to be the best. And if you’re looking for a more club-like atmosphere with a slightly older crowd, try Datcha (98 Avenue Laurier O): a nightclub in the Mile-End with a classy little cocktail bar, Kabinet, attached. In both cases, you can rest assured that like you, most people are just there to sweat it out and have a really good time, and maybe meet someone sweet in the process.
NDQ (32 Rue Beaubien E) is another great option for dance parties and dates in general. They host loads of them and often have DJs come in for different themed nights, and if you need to take a break from the dancefloor, there’s always their two five-pin bowling lanes to fall back on.
Join a Club/Take a Class/Volunteer
Becoming single usually means you’ve now got a bit more time on your hands, so why not finally take up that passion project you’ve always wanted to? From volunteering for music festivals, to taking community art or cooking classes, to joining a local club you’re interested in, pursuing your interests can also be an awesome way to find a like-minded new friend.
Whether you’re into in cooking, gardening, bicycles, or just helping those in need, one really amazing community organization to consider is Santropol Roulant (111 Rue Roy East). Harvesting fresh produce from their huge urban garden and preparing Meals on Wheels for Montrealers in need, plus running a bike repair shop called Santro-Velo, they’ve made a huge difference in Montreal over the years and are run almost entirely on volunteers.
Play Some Pool
Playing pool or any other bar game is a tried-and-true method for making new friends. While pretty much any place with a pool table will do, our favourites are La Petite Idée Fixe (4857 Av du Parc) and Snack n’ Blues (5260 Boul St-Laurent). La Petite Idée Fixe features a lot of 20-something-year-olds and a free jukebox, while Snack n’ Blues has free (albeit, semi-stale) snacks and tends to attract a slightly older crowd. Both have their fair share of oddball regulars, but really, what bar with a pool table doesn’t?
From joining a running club to spending a day at your local rock climbing gym, you’re bound to meet plenty of people while getting active, especially if you go for a group activity. This guide to outdoor sports around Montreal should give you some ideas on where to start!
Try Tinder (… Again)
The reality is, Tinder’s huge in Montreal. And we’re not sure if it’s due to the already strong hookup culture in our frisky city, but it seems that in comparison to many others, Montreal’s Tinder use is actually more geared towards finding relationships than casual encounters. So while many of your interactions on there may end up being only good for a funny story, it’s still a pretty decent tool for Montrealers looking to land a cute date. Thus, here are a couple tips for Tindering in Montreal, which can also be applied to most other dating apps/sites out there.
First: trust us, noting which languages you speak in your bio will save you some agony over unanswered messages/disappointing replies in the future. Bilingualism and the mingling of different languages is a huge part of what makes this city’s culture so unique, and there’s plenty of awesome couples out there who don’t share each other’s first or even second language. But Tinder’s all about efficiency, and the truth is, many people just aren’t willing to strike up a conversation using a language they’re not 100% comfortable in — especially when having both swiped right is your only connection to begin with.
Second, before you download the app, remember that Montreal is a small world. You will definitely see people you’ve met in real life on Tinder, and you’ll likely spot people you’ve seen on Tinder in real life. The unofficial protocols for such encounters seem to be a) swiping right and, after matching, briefly joking around about both being on Tinder before never speaking of it again, and b) pretending not to have seen each other and then messaging them once safely out of sight with something like “Hey, were you just at [insert place here]?! Oh man, I thought that might be you!!” (hint: they definitely knew it was you). If you ask us though, real-life encounters shouldn’t be so weird — let’s all just admit that breaking down the barrier IRL is scary and start saying hello already.
So, there you go! We hope this guide helps and, at the very least, will inspire you to re-enter the dating game. It’s cheesy but true — like the wise Michael Scott once said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.