AOL PICK from our Editors
Let’s be honest: Québec City is known for many attributes, but nightlife isn’t one of them. This is an early city that lives and thrives by daylight, especially come winter when frigid nocturnal temperatures make it tough to motivate and head over to the club. This is also a health-conscious city whose residents rock outdoor sports year-round, from snowboarding to wakeboarding, and it’s tough to be an athlete when you’re permanently hung over. That said, this town’s population has grown younger and hipper in recent years, and a bunch of cool new nightspots have joined the ranks of reliable old stalwarts to create a vibrant, eclectic and happening (if small) nightlife scene. Not to diss the old guard, Québec City’s legendary old taverns and boites a chanson (songhouses) are still amazingly fun hangouts to drink and party with mixed crowds. Where else can you find joyous 80-year-old locals chatting up tourists, students and young professionals, all united by that legendary French joie-de-vivre? And often, the best selection of beers is served at these pubs. Don’t forget, another Québec claim to fame is its microbreweries that brew up magical artisanal beers and lagers. On the more sophisticated and trendy tip, various lounges, live music venues and nightclubs cater to a trendier crowd. If you’re looking for that sort of hip scene, some of Québec City’s best nightlife goes down in the St.-Roch neighbourhood.
This casual neighbourhood bar has two claims to fame: its charming outdoor terrasse and its amazing selection of beer. Le Sacrilège serves more than 14 varieties of micro-brewed specialties. During fall and winter months, it also hosts various cultural events, live music shows and theatrical performances, with live DJs spinning every Friday night. Open since 1993 and still going strong.
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Chic is the word at this two-story hotspot, which attracts hip 20- and 30-something artsy and urban professionals who drink, chat and flirt the night away. Depending on the night, you'll find DJs, live bands, even cabaret shows. Two floors means two parties at once, so whether you prefer a loungey or dancey vibe, you're sure to find what you're looking for—especially after a few specialty martinis. A light food menu is also available.
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Le Cercle is one of Québec City’s nightlife epicenters. Part restaurant, part showroom, part art gallery, part bar, live bands, DJs and musical acts fill this modern space’s calendar, and contemporary art by cool artists lines the walls. Most exhibits kick off with a vernissage cocktail party. For barflys, Le Cercle’s late-night menu features yummy tapas with international fair. Even their website is a full-on lifestyle resource for culture buffs.
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Neighborhood: Basse-Ville (Lower Town)
This huge club is pretty much the capital of gay and lesbian nightlife in Québec, and, as such, offers various nightlife options. In addition to the main area, which contains a dance floor and stage for cabaret performances, in the basement you'll find a proper disco and upstairs a leather-themed biker bar. There's also a more chilled-out bar area.
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Neighborhood: Haute-Ville (Upper Town)
Billing itself as Québec City's English pub, this totally charming Old Quebec institution has a fireplace, more than 200 varieties of beers and dozens of single-malt scotches. St.-Alexandre opens at 11AM daily and serves food, but this pub isn't known for its cuisine but rather for its brews and its vibe. A great place to catch live local bands and music on weekends for the full Quebec experience.
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