Montreal is blessed to have such a vibrant cultural fabric. It weaves together people from different walks of life, who speak different languages and do different things, yet when you step back you see one stunning tapestry of a city. When I step back and look at the best coffee shops, amazing restaurants, best bars and best party nights, it becomes obvious who is responsible for making these places awesome… LESBIANS!
Montreal has always had a fun and spirited gay community. Yet at times it can be tailored more to gay men. So the lesbians of Montreal took it into their own hands and started making their own cultural footprint on this city. The LBGT is splattered all over this great city, but the lesbian splatter finds itself concentrated up in the trendy Mile-End and speckled throughout the Village. If you are a lesbian, or want to be cool enough to hang with the lesbians, then here is a small guide to the best Lesbian landmarks in Montreal…
Le Cagibi (5490 Saint-Laurent): I put Le Cagibi atop my list because if you have time to hit only one lesbian establishment, then this must be it. You won’t find a greater concentration of the most awesome dykes anywhere else in Montreal. Le Cagibi is a vegan/vegetarian licensed establishment that has quickly gained a dedicated following of lesbians, students, artists and bike messengers. But really, aren’t those all the same thing? They have a non-stop event list of shows that nestle into the space perfectly. If you find yourself being cultured by one of their shows, while enjoying a beer… Spoil yourself a little more and indulge in their late night menu including the the Grilled Tomato Sandwich. The simplistic beauty of this sandwich will make a grown butch cry. (Or, if they’re all out, pop over a few short blocks and grab some free bagels!)
Ella Grill (1237 Amherst): Dining options in the Gay Village are getting better and better. Ella Grill really takes that up a notch with one of the few fine-dining options in the area. This lesbian-owned restaurant is a minimalist black and white space that lets the Mediterranean cuisine take centre stage. Like most establishments in the Village, both men and women go here, but Ella Grill has special summer T-Dances and one-off events exclusively for their lesbian clientele.
La Paryse (302 Ontario East): La Paryse is a lesbian-owned 50s inspired diner that has burgers, shakes and more. Maybe this is just an urban legend, but the story goes that Madame Paryse used to make her egg with melted cheese on rye for her lady lovers in the morning, who would always say she should open a restaurant. Now we can all enjoy the delicious food, that before only the extremely lucky were privy to.
Drugstore (1366 Sainte-Catherine East): Drugstore is the big lesbian playground. Every lesbian has for sure been here at least once. Hate it or love it, this place is packed full on game night, throughout the weekends and all summer long. It’s a chill (and sometimes rowdy) place to watch the hockey game, play pool and eat free popcorn. During the summer months, their street and rooftop terrace is filled with everything from lipstick femmes, to motorbike dykes! I feel if I were to bump into Alice from the L Word anywhere in Montreal, it would be chilling on the rooftop terrace with a pitcher of sangria. Only lesbians and honorary lesbians like myself will totally get what I mean by that.
Bikurious (1757 Amherst): If Shane was real life and owned a bike shop that did “lesbian haircuts”, Bikurious would so be it. So buy a bike and and get a haircut for $15. This shop is worth the visit just to browse, hang out and chat with the owner!
Royal Phoenix (5788 Saint-Laurent): Royal Phoenix is the new queer bar on the scene. Up in the Mile-End it’s located perfectly to cater to the lesbian and queer community. Events almost every night of the week keep the people flowing in. Check out their website for the most up to date calendar. They take debit and credit at the bar, which is a rarity in Montreal I find. This place is filled with people who know and love to have fun. Pick any night of the week and I’m sure you’ll have an excellent time.
Meow Mix: Meow Mix is a monthly event that takes place at the Sala Rossa, usually on a saturday night. In a poll of my lesbian friends, they all agreed that Meow Mix is the best dyke party in town. It usually gets going around 10PM with a performance be it music, drag or burlesque. After that, the lights turn off and the music gets loud! If you find yourself in the city the weekend that Meow Mix is happening, drop everything and go.
Pink 28: Pink 28 is a monthly lounge night targeted at the “professional” lesbian. It takes place at a different location from month to month, so going you might discover a cool new spot. Usually starts in the early evening and finishes before bed time. This is the prefect place to meet people, without having to go out and “party”. Check out their next event here.