McGill University

The Peel Pub
August 2004
by Marc B. Zawel

It takes just one visit to Montreal’s Peel Pub to realize that despite McGill University’s reputation as the Harvard of Canada, its nightlife is a far cry from the more relaxed and refined bars of Cambridge, Mass. Since opening in 1962, the bar has established itself as a popular dive for students, locals and road-tripping Americans in pursuit of Canada’s 18-and-up drinking age. Though the pub is popular enough to have spun off franchises in Ontario, the original in downtown Montreal is still the favorite.

The Scene: “We’ve always had the same formula,” explained Sterios Mimidakis, the bar’s manager. “Entertainment, cheap beer and food.” With simple décor that makes you feel like you’re tossing back brews in your buddy’s living room, the Peel Pub encourages a casual attitude. Don’t be surprised if, after working your way to the bottom of the pitcher, you discover several friendly female strangers seated nearby. The bar purposely groups tables together to encourage conversation. “After a couple pitchers, you’d be surprised how much things change,” Mimidakis said. “You can really come here with 20 bucks in your pocket and have a great time.”

Located just a few blocks from the Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, Peel Pub is also a hockey hotspot. “It’s not uncommon for fans to start showing up in the morning to grab a good seat for the afternoon game,” said Nathan, a sophomore majoring in sociology.

The Chicks at Peel Pub:  Peel Pub proves the old adage that location is everything, since its downtown address brings in coeds from both McGill and nearby Concordia University. “With the locals, students and visitors all in one spot, there’s plenty to choose from,” said Mike, a sophomore economics major. “The tough part is deciding which one.”

When to Go: Packed Thursday through Monday nights, the pub caters to those with four-day weekends. The ever-popular Tuesday night Jell-O wrestling also attracts a crowd. “Drinks, food and wrestling — what more could you ask for?” said Rob, a freshman engineering student.

Dress Code: The only thing serious here is the drinking, so leave the stylish clothes at home. After all, who wants Jell-O on their dress shirt?

At the Bar: If it’s your first time visiting, the “Big Ass” pitcher is a must. A favorite among rookies and regulars alike, the “Big Ass” is 140 massive ounces of Molson beer. “People’s eyes pop out of their heads,” said Mimidakis. To soak it all up, the locals recommend Poutine, a heart-stopping French-Canadian delicacy that consists of fries covered in cheese curds and brown gravy.

Where It’s At: 1107 St. Catherine O, Montreal, Quebec

Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. – 3 a.m.

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