Hockey season is finally here. It all kicks off tonight with the most fitting opening night match-up, the never-ending rivalry: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens. If you’re reading this, odds are you love one of these two teams and hate the other. We’d suggest anger management if this was the case, but you know what? This rivalry is far older than any of us, so, as they say in French, c’est la vie. If you’re in Montreal and couldn’t score a ticket, or are cheering on the Leafs from Toronto, here are our favourite places to catch the game this evening.
This is an institution for hockey watching on the Plateau. We’re talking bull riding, girls dancing on the bar pouring beer, and enough screens to make you go blind. It’s the perfect place to bring your buddies, get a table and really make a party of out of the games. A little tip for the ladies: this is a great place to meet some potential men, as the ratio is 1 to 10!
This is for the hockey foodies. If you’re looking for more than just a bowl of nachos and an ice-cold beer, pop by this Drummond Street gem. Not only can you get a mean Kobe burger, truffle macaroni and cheese, and a slew of other tasty plates, but this is also where a lot of the players dine. Owner Jeff has created a great vibe always full of buzz and you best believe all the screens are in full effect when the games are on!
Place Des Festivals
Last but not least, how about this grand affair? The King of Lean are throwing a free concert today at the Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off, a day full of free music, entertainment and hockey taking place at Place Des Festivals. This is a street festival put together in order to celebrate the opening game for the Canadiens tonight. The fun kicks off at 3pm with music, hockey games and more until 7pm, then the game starts and you’ll be able to watch it on huge video screens in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles. Talk about a celebration!
Real Sports Bar and Grill
Although the obvious choice, we had to mention the beloved Real Sports Bar and Grill located in Maple Leaf Square. Though the tables are likely all reserved by now, you may be lucky enough to score a bar table or standing room at this lively venue. Don’t worry about missing the action; it is impossible not to see the 39-foot HD big screen, in addition to the 199 HD TVs scattered throughout the venue. The crowd at Real Sports is diverse yet behaved; you’re not likely to witness any type of bar brawl, as the lively crowd joins together for the love of the game. Far from your typical pub fare, the menu at Real Sports offers fun and unique spins on sharable snacks and game-time classics. Highlights include the nachos, 14 award-winning wing flavours and 11 tempting burgers, as well as the selection of over 36 beers.
Also located right in the heart of Toronto’s sports and entertainment district is E11even, where Toronto’s sophisticated set of sports enthusiasts will take in the game – perhaps over a little business. For the wine drinkers, E11even offers an impressive selection of wines (with a cellar that boasts over 3200 bottles) and a sommelier to offer insight and provide pairing options. Located right in Maple Leaf Square, you could always start the game off here with dinner and hit Real Sports for the post-game party. Menu items include North American classics like crab cakes, chicken, fish (think things like the lobster cobb salad) and steak, coupled with comforting side dishes like truffle macaroni and cheese.
Joey Restaurants also offer a refined alternative to your typical pub or chain restaurant. With locations throughout the city (including right at Yonge and Dundas, Yorkdale Shopping Centre and the Shops of Don Mills), we recommend scoring a seat at the bar or lounge to catch the game over always-memorable cocktails and menu items like the lobster grilled cheese, Ahi tuna tacos, lettuce wraps and the Kobe beef meatballs.
Who are you cheering for?
Cover Image by: Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images