The reach of QUEER MTL extends far beyond the Boules Roses of the Gay Village and into some of the trendiest places on the Island of Montreal. If you’re a cool lesbian, or want to hang out with cool lesbians, then this guide (and neighbourhood) is for you…
Close your eyes and imagine a place where beautiful lesbians roam the streets on fixed-wheel bikes wearing slick kicks and cool haircuts. Open your eyes. You are standing in the heart of Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood and all of your dreams have come true. I caught up with local lesbian Gina and picked her brain for her favourite hang-outs in Montreal:
COFFEE & FOOD: Le Cagibi is a staple in the Mile-End. I could describe the physical location in words, but this cafe is mostly about the warm hug-like vibes it gives off. Also love Le Depanneur Café, a live-music haven and one of the chillest places in Montreal. Depanneur Le Pickup has an antique lunch counter, a back patio, and a really good menu. Hint: The vegetarian pulled-pork would make even grown cavemen weep.
Le Vieux-Velo is a cute BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) breakfast/brunch place, that has people raving over their Vege-Pesto Benedict. Regine Cafe is another super cool spot with a bric-a-brac decor, a simply amazing brunch, and filled with the right kind of women.
BEERS & BARS: Royal Phoenix made a big splash in the Queer Montreal scene when it opened a few years ago. Now, it’s still one of the hottest LGBT spots outside the Gay Village. They have weekly events, great brunch, and a DJ line-up that will make your eardrums quiver that matter what night of the week it is. Except Monday. They’re closed on Monday.
Notre-Dame-des-Quilles was just named not only named one of the best queer bars in the city by CULT MTL, but also one of the best bars overall. They have apparently mastered the formula: People oozing with hipness + Cheap drinks + A Bowling Alley = The Best Bar Ever. If you’re staying in a hotel downtown, this place is a bit of a leap away, but the area is well worth it, especially if you make a day of it.
Else’s is the type of place you feel like you could grow old with. Just like that beautiful woman who sits across from you, it’s the perfect Friday night date spot. Yes it’s crowded, yes it’s loud, but as Jordan Baker says in the Great Gatsby “I love large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
SHOPS, KNICKNACKS & HAIRCUTS: If you want the full Lesbian Montreal experience, you could get a haircut by JJ Levine! She has a shop in the upper Village area called “Lesbian Haircuts for Anyone.” While this is not exactly in the Mile End area, it’s just a quick Bixi ride away! The knicknacks and shops that you could spend hours upon hours perusing through are far too numerous to name here. But spend some time walking down the upscale Laurier, the vintage shop filled strip of Bernard, and join the Bagel Wars by visiting both St-Viateur and Fairmont Bagel Shops located on St-Viateur and Fairmont.
Even though everyone loves a guide, the Mile End is best discovered sans map and sans guidance. Get lost, explore the streets, make new friends, fall in love, and find those #MTLMOMENTS. Share them with us by tagging your pictures with #queermtl & #mtlmoments
From our fabulous Gay Village to our multiple LGBT festivals Montréal is one of the most gay-friendly places on Earth, and we take pride in celebrating our queerness. To keep up with Montréal’s eclectic queer community follow Tourisme-Montreal’s LGBT account QueerMTL on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram