Nightlife in Quebec City
There is a place for nearly every visitor, from the wild nightlife to the cozy corner. Drinking age is 18 though enforcement is hazy.
Quality wine and liquor can only be purchased at SAQ shops, most of which are open until 6PM Sunday - Wednesday and 8 or 9PM on weekends; the smaller SAQ Express outlets are open daily from 11AM to 10PM, but the selection is restricted to the SAQ's most popular items. Beer and a small selection of lower-quality wine are also sold at convenience stores (dépanneurs) and grocery stores (not what you would usually bring to a dinner party but sometimes drinkable-—it has been imported in bulk and bottled and sometimes blended in Quebec and known as "piquette" by the locals). All retail alcohol sales stop at 11PM and bars and clubs stop serving at 3AM.
There is only one SAQ within the walls of the old city, a SAQ "Selection" inside the Chateau Frontenac. It has high-end wines and liquors, a small selection of other liquors and no beer. A SAQ "Classique" with better (though still small) selection is located just outside of the walls on Rue St-Jean on the south side of the street.
During the frigid Carnaval, a local specialty known as caribou is available to warm you up (did you know that those canes they sell are hollow?). Though the mixture varies with what is available, it tends to be port or red wine with a hodge-podge of liquors, normally vodka, brandy and perhaps even some sherry.
The Grande Allée has most of the city's clubs & youth-oriented bars and spots:
- Le Dagobert, 600 Grande-Alle Est, . One of Québec's biggest clubs and over 25 years old, with shows by local and international musicians. With its heart-stopping techno and enormous outdoor disco ball, you cannot miss it. Crowd tends to be young. One of the few venues that consistently asks for identification for age verification. Free admission.
- L'Ozone, 570 Grande-Allée Est, , e-mail:[email protected]. Offers great music and atmosphere.~$5/pint.
- Chez Maurice, 575 Grande-Allée Est, . Upscale with a crowd in the mid-to-late 20s playing dance. Has a dress code for the second floor.
- Les Voutes de Napoléon, 680 Grande Allée Est, .Great chansonnier bar located in the vaults of a restaurant. Live music everyday. Gets packed on weekend especially Saturday night. Festive atmosphere.
La Rue St. Jean, beyond the city walls on the west end, is where travelers will find the best pubs in Québec, as well as some smaller dance clubs:
- St Patrick, 1200 rue Saint-Jean, . An excellent bar with multiple indoor levels, in addition to its outdoor terrace at the heart of Old Québec. It serves typical bar food, but come for the live music, of the folk and Irish variety, that fills the atmosphere multiple nights a week. Try the draft cider, at about ~$9/pint.
- Pub St. Alexandre, 1087 Rue St.-Jean, . Another great bar/restaurant that specializes in imports, but charges a price for them. A 16 oz Belgian import can be $9-12.
- Casablanca, 1169 Rue Saint-Jean, . A small, upstairs, tucked-away club that plays heavy rosta-beats and has room to dance. It's a good place to bring your own party, with a unique ambiance.
- Sacrilege, 47 Rue Saint-Jean, . Darkly lit beer bar with an open air patio. Ideal for a relaxed atmosphere with good friends.
- Ninkasi, 811 rue Saint-Jean, . The best place to have a large choice of Quebeckers beers and see a variety of shows.
- L'Oncle Antoine, 29 Rue St. Pierre, . Located in the touristy part of town, it's one of the city's oldest bars. Cozy atmosphere with great selection of local brews. Also offers an open air patio.
Spread throughout Old Québec are many upscale bars and jazz clubs. Search out the hotels, as they typically have the best venues for jazz and music at night.
- Bar Château Frontenac, 1 rue des Carrieres (in Chateau Frontenac Hotel). Famous for their perfectly mixed and generously sized martinis, available in numerous versions including half-a-dozen named after famous visitors ranging from Winston Churchill to René Lévesque. Try to score a window seat for great views across the St. Lawrence. The ice wine martini is a great treat. $13/16 for a martini with house/premium vodka.
- Pub Nelligans, 789 Cote Ste Genevieve, . A real Irish owned pub in the heart of the St.jean Baptiste neighbourhood. Famous for its year round Tuesday night traditional musique jams. A great place to meet people with a friendly ambiance and surroundings, no better place to go and have a great pint of Guinness at 6.75$ a pint.