Crescent Street is certianly no stranger to the American tourist. And although locals told me they prefer the pubs of St. Denis, the taverns along Crescent Street provide a great intro to exploring the city.
My two friends and I had drinks on our minds as we explored the city by foot. We had a few hours to kill before the hockey game as we searched.
Pub Claddagh was the first place we came across and as we settled in, we realized that we certainly could have made it a night there. The atmosphere was reminiscent of an Irish pub -- low lit, dark walls, plenty of taps -- all of the trappings of great conversation. We grabbed a booth-like setting along the wall that allowed us to enjoy our own company and still be aware of other happenings. The beer list is varied and contains real Canadian beers (aka not just Molson.) I had a Griffon Rousse which was full and enjoyable. One buddy had an Alexander Keith IPA which was recommended by our barkeep. Our other friend was very happy with his cider. The bar food is definitely bar food, but well in keeping with the atmosphere. The background music was by Peter Gabriel and helped set the casual conversational tone. We wanted to do more exploring but could have easily spent more time in the Claddagh.
From there, we moved onto Newtown, a very hip cocktail bar with a New York feel. Named after Canadian racecar driver Villeneuve (newtown), you feel like you are in an elite crowd as soon as you sit down in comfortable chairs that are a garish (yet stylish?) yellow-green. The staff is wearing all black and the cocktail menu features "shakers" which seem to be a barrel of shots. We opted for other drinks but still had a great time. Newtown had a more upscale atmosphere than the casual Claddagh, but was very comfortable for conversation and people-watching.
We concluded at a great Thai place called Chiang Thai. Great solid meal in an exotic room (with flowing white curtains and elephant tusks!)
All in all, a very good start as we headed over to the Bell Center to see the Habs and the Leafs!