There are some events in Montreal, like for example the F-1, that locals often avoid. But when it comes to this week-end’s “Main Madness”, when all of St-Laurent is closed off to traffic, even the most cynical of Montrealers can usually find something to do…
In my opinion this is because Main Madness, also known as the Street Sale, can be an entirely different experience depending on where you are on St-Laurent. If you want champagne and snootily gorgeous waitresses, head to the area just above Sherbrooke for the terrasses that extend out from spots like Buona Notte and the nearby oyster bars set up on the street. If you want DJs and a slight wilder scene, head to the area outside bars like Korova and spots like Laika .
And if you want something entirely more laidback, head north of Rachel for the Fringe tent and the much more spaced-out restos, cafes and bars. To get a sense of what to expect, check this spotlight on what’s happening this year at Main Madness or this video of some guy wearing his nicest white shirt while explaining the street.
Food: Basically the first reason I head down every year. There are, first off, tons of “street meat”- sausages and, most importantly for me, tons of places serving some variation Portuguese piri-piri chicken. I usually just walk by them all and go with the one that I get the best vibes from (a tough-to-describe process). Mangos on a stick are always a big hit and there’s cheap Chinese food and the afore-mentioned oyster bars, but sometimes, frankly, I just stroll down to Euro-Deli for some pasta.
Drinks: Reason #2 for going. As previously mentioned, you can go classy or trashy, arty or jock-y, all depending on where you are on the Main. I like to pick a spot somewhere on the sprawling outdoor terrasses outside Blizzarts or Copacabana and do some people-watching. One year, we did 12-hour stint in that area that remains one of my favorite Montreal summer memories.
Shopping: Man, I don’t know. They sell everything on the street from clothes to jewelry to basically anything. I’ve never bought a single ting, but if you’re curious, hit up my colleague Tamy “T-Money” Pepin. She’ll know.
Music: Now we’re talking. There is music pouring out of all the bars, as well as DJs, buskers, breakdancers up and down the street. But if you really want to focus on music, head to the Fringe Fest beer tent at Parc des Ameriques, which is located at St-Laurent and Rachel. During the course of the theatre fest there’s always something happening, but when they team up with Pop Montreal for Fringe Pop, you get to see some great bands for free in one my favorite outdoor venues. Friday’s highlights include Sean Nicholas Savage (6pm) Mixylodian (9pm), Saturday opens up with Beaver (6pm) and ends at 9 with Pop Winds. Finalement, if you’re still going, Sunday winds down with a bang from 4-8pm with Mavo, UN, The Hoof and The Heel and Bateau Noir.