Posh locale, sensational drinks, and good DJs, Velvet Speakeasy is a basement club with a sizable dose of Old Montreal high roller types prowling the bars. On the in-the-know radar since October 2009, Velvet is part trend, part underground, though it's changed over the years, par for the course with most nightlife venues. Remember to dress up a little but not too much if you want to look the part. Or just wear black. But be on trend.
- Drink prices are considerably reasonable for Old Montreal, with select wines starting at $9 a glass
- Beautiful people
- Two bar spaces
- Only two bathrooms: expect lineups and extra-curricular activity
- Gets stuffy in that basement
- Don't lose sight of your drink lest a busboy rid you of it before it's done
- Selective door policy: dress to impress without overdoing it
- Address: 420 St. Gabriel, corner of St. Paul
- Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
- Venue available for private events.
Inside the Club
Housed in the basement of upscale locale Auberge Saint-Gabriel, one of Montreal's most romantic restaurants, to get to Velvet requires walking past the main floor's gorgeous bar, a bright, airy, high ceiling open space and down a dark hallway reminiscent of a European catacomb.
Clientele ranges from barely 18 to mid to late forties, with the bulk of the masses either dressed by the latest trendsetter or suited up. Music runs the gamut of electro, from deep house to tech house to minimal to techno.
Cocktails include house specialty Basil Snatch (gin, fresh basil, limonata, sanbitter), Cucumber Hendricks (Hendricks' rose petal and cucumber-infused gin, dry vermouth, fresh cucumber), and Payback (tequila, triple sec, kiwis, jalapenos).
A note on the bathrooms. They're a bit of a problem. There are only two individual bathrooms on the basement floor so lineups are inevitable on busy nights. Insider tip: go upstairs if you can't bear the wait.
Over the Years
Naturally, Velvet has evolved over the years. From 2009 to roughly 2012, it was the hottest club in the city attracting models, high rollers, jet setters from out of town, and cool kids in the know. To say it still has that must-be-here FOMO vibe would be laying it on thick. Otherwise, the venue really comes alive on special events, like Halloween, New Year's Eve, and Grand Prix weekend.
Otherwise, it's since mellowed out. Club nights are Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. If you get there early, order a drink or a glass of vino at the upstairs bar.