We always talk about “gay-friendly” places outside the village where we gays can go to have a fun and safe time. But why not, every once in a while, take our straight friends into the Gay Village so we can all have a fabulous time together…
It’s safe to say that Montreal is a very accepting and open place to live. Our cultures mush and meld together in a way that creates this fabric of diversity. All these things, places, people and experience together make Montreal a pretty incredible place to live and visit. The Gay Village is rich in history, culture and concentrated fun. But is it only for us gays? Is there a toll booth at the start where you must prove your gay to enjoy it? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
I have taken many straight friends, straight couples and my family into the village and they’ve all had a phenomenal time. The gays are an accepting bunch of people and love the opportunity to showcase their culture and community to the outside world in a positive light. So here are 8 Straight-Friendly Things To Do in the Gay Village:
1. Play pool at Drugstore: Cheap beer, sport game on the TV screens, free popcorn and pool tables, is there anything a straight dude won’t love? If gay boys are all best friends with straight girls, I don’t understand why straight dudes and lesbians aren’t all the best of friends. Drugstore is Montreal’s best known and largest lesbian bar. It’s probably the most relaxed bar I’ve ever been to; you can spend hours here just hanging out. I’ve been to Drugstore with straight guys and girls before and they loved it! We played pool and drank beer, but in an atmosphere that is unique and not Sharx. Straight guys that are hitched should come here so their girlfriends/wives don’t have to worry about any bad behavior going on because the ladies here just aren’t even interested. But still bring your A-game, because lesbians will school you at pool.
2. Watch choice sport game and eat at Le Grillon: Located just steps away from Papineau metro, Le Grillon is like eating gourmet food and camping at the same time. Import beer, signature cocktails and food to die for (I heard a rumor that they poached the sous-chef from Queue de Cheval, but that’s merely hearsay). The long communal wooden tables are perfect for large groups or meeting new friends! The outdoorsy décor adds to the ambiance and relaxed atmosphere of this up-and-coming Montreal hotspot.
3. Dancing at Unity: OK, so this one definitely takes a man that is secure in his sexuality. He knows he is a straight man and is proud of it. So why go dancing at Unity? Follow the logic with me. Gay boy brings his straight girl friend to Unity for dancing, straight boys have finally figured this out and now they go to Unity to find where all the straight girls are hiding. No joke. Also the music is always good (whenever DJ Skittles is not spinning) and I find my straight friends always get some sort of ego boost when they go to Unity. Straight girls get the gays telling them how much they love their shoes and dress, and straight boys secretly like getting checked out sometimes.
4. Catch a show at Cabaret Mado: Drag queens are an integral part of gay culture and history. Travel guides for Le Marais (the gay district in Paris) instruct all kinds of tourists (gay and straight) to go see a drag show there. So why not in Montreal? The drag shows at Cabaret Mado will make you laugh, cry and sometimes gasp at their fierce dancing in towering 10-inch platform heels. I know many friends who have brought their parents here for entertainment and a few drinks. A sense of humor and an open mind is all you need to have a good time.
5. Ladies night at Stock Bar: Every Wednesday night is Ladies Night at Stock Bar. From bachelorette parties, birthdays, or just a girl’s night out this place is packed. Young adults having fun with their friends, mothers with other mothers come for a laugh after work. All to see the best of what the male physique has to offer. Seeing a 55-year-old woman in a pantsuit with a wedding ring on losing her mind to Carlos and his sweet moves is practically a sight in itself.
6. Have a sandwich and milkshake at Kilo: The Kilo on St. Denis is nice, but it really doesn’t compare to the location in the Village. The ambiance here is just… fun. Quirky, comfy and full of locals laughing it is a nice place to have a massive sandwich and chat over coffee. For any sex, gender or orientation, this restaurant is a community staple and must be tried at least once. 7. Have a culinary journey at O’thym: This one is definitely the most obviously mixed place. Lots of straight and gay people already come here because the food here is just divine. However it technically falls within the boundaries of The Village, so it can be included. All local ingredients and an ever-changing seasonal menu, make a reservation a no-brainer at O’thym. They have two seating times: 6 PM and 9PM. What makes O’thym even better is that it’s a bring your own wine restaurant! With 2 SAQ’s located just steps away it is a perfect ménage-a-trois of location, price and taste.
8. Walk through Aires Libres during the festivals: Families, couples and friends, gay and straight, come peruse the outdoor festivals this summer through Aires Libres. Families pushing strollers, couples (of all kinds) holding hands are a common sight during this time of year. This is a unique Montreal experience that is not exclusive to the gays and lesbians. Aires Libres invites everyone from every corner of the world no matter what your sexuality is to just have a great sunny day in Montreal. Pick from any of the terraces and have a pitcher of Sangria and enjoy the fact you are in a city that loves every single one of its citizens. Don’t you kinda want move here now?
Guest Blogger: Alex Dunphy
Drugstore, 1366 Ste-Catherine E, (514) 524-1960
Le Grillon, 1950 Ste. Catherine E, (514) 527-9997
Unity, 1171 Ste. Catherine E, (514) 523-2777
Cabaret Mado, 1115 Ste. Catherine E, (514) 525-7566
Kilo, 1495 Ste. Catherine E, (514) 596-3933
O’thym, 1112 Boul. De Maisonneuve E, (514) 525–3443