The Word on the Street Is . . . the SAQ

Word on the StreetThe SAQ (pronounced ess-ay-cue or sack by Anglos) is the common name for liquor store in Quebec. According to Wikipedia, elsewhere in the world it’s called a bottle store, off license, bottle shop, bottle-o, ABC store, state store, package store or, as my friend liked to call it, “where the devil spat.”

Short for the Société des alcools du Québec, the SAQ is government-owned and the only place you can get hard liquor and wine (unless you’re happy with that swill you can get at the grocery store). If you’re looking for beer, you’re better off heading to a dep because the SAQ stocks but a few odd-tasting brews.

So don’t be shy—ask a local to point you towards the nearest SAQ, and then tote your bottle to one of the hundreds of bring-your-own-wine restaurants or to a park where, if you behave, you can drink your vino en plein air with a baguette and cheese!

What do you call your local liquor mart?


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