Our Montreal Street Profile series has already visited Bleury, Parc, Maisonneuve, Saint-Paul and Saint-Zotique. Other bloggers have investigated Crescent, Greene Avenue, Sainte-Catherine, Saint-Denis and Mont-Royal. For my kick at the street can, I decided to take a stroll along Rue Amherst…
Amherst is a north-south artery that is widely known for being the Gay Village‘s other street. The most interesting bits of Amherst connect Saint-Antoine and Sherbrook, spotted with antique shops, restaurants, bakeries and boutiques. Amherst Street is named after Baron Jeffery Amherst (Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces) but not without a little controversy. In 2009, a municipal council motioned to have the street renamed after someone a little nicer…you see, Amherst is know to be the first person to ever commit biological warfare when he deliberately gave blankets infected with smallpox to the Native-Americans. But history is ever-evolving so let’s take a lovely walk down the 2011 version of Amherst Street…
Just above Rene-Levesque on Amherst, in the heart of the village, lies the headquarters to the iconic Quebecois Gay & Lesbian magazine Fugues. It’s been around since 1984! (That’s 53 in magazine years!). Just a few feet away is the infamous Parking Nightclub, where, for years, Montrealers have been going to break a sweat. Thursdays and Sundays bring a mixed crowd that is there to do one thing: dance baby! Thursdays also have $3 cover, $2 shooters and $4 beers. Get in, get drunk and still have enough to donate to your favorite charity on nothing but a twenty! Hint: Stay out of the “Parking Tunnel”…
A bit of a walk away on Amherst is the Museum of Industrial and Working Class History of Montreal, or Écomusée. History junkies that love niche-museums will adore this space and everything they detail inside.
EAT & DRINK
Four years ago, I would have laughed in someone’s face if they wanted to go dine on Amherst. Now, I’m eager to find what delicious new places have popped up! It’s a dining revolution happening all up this thoroughfare. Chipotle & Jalapeno is part restaurant, part trinket shop. They have the best empanadas in town and an entire rack of Mexican candy. Cross Saint-Catherine and you’ll find L’Oeufrier for an excellent, hearty breakfast with a cute waiter to boot.
Across the street is the thoroughly enjoyable Couscoissière d’Ali Baba. Bring your own wine, live belly dancers and couscous? What could go wrong! If this location is full, they just opened another one on the other side of the village near Papineau!
Euro Polonia is a Polish delicatessen that is hard to miss with its yellow storefront. Incredible fresh baked polish bread every day makes this place popular with locals. The most popular bar on Amherst is, without a doubt, Gotha Lounge. A relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for a drink with some good friends.
SHOP & DECORATE
What Amherst is primarily known for are the antique and décor shops. The antique shops usually specialize in groovy 50s and 60s furniture, with lots of post-industrial pieces that would make any collector swoon. My favourites include Cité Deco, Second Chance, and Antiquité Curiousité. Pouf Pouf et Cie is not exactly an antique shop, but has beautiful designer furniture with price tags to match.
Bikurious is a two-birds-one-stone deal where people can get a haircut and then also buy a bike. I’ve personally never had that moment where all of that needed to be done in one afternoon, but if I did, I would definitely go to Bikurious. And ss far as pet boutiques go, Doggy Style (their pun, not mine) is the most adorable. With clothes, toys and treats it’s a pet store that the gays and lesbians love.
All in all, Amherst Street is a nice break from the usual village stuff that Saint Catherine offers. Continue on up and discover new restaurants that show up almost over night and venture into the niche boutiques that are worth the jaunt.
Guest Blogger: Alex Dunphy
Photo Credit: Amherst- Asiansm Dan