While Montreal’s Gay Village is an amazing place for gays and lesbians, it’s not the only place we play and live! We call the far stretches of Montreal’s neighbourhoods home and we all have our favourites. So whether you’re in the dramatic Downtown, trendy Plateau, funky Mile-end, or glitzy Old Port: The Gays are everywhere!
Montreal is blessed with a variety of equally unique neighbourhoods. They stretch far and wide across this island and all deliver a different vibe from one another. This is mostly attributed to the locals that live there. The types of people that choose to live in a certain area give a specific ambiance or attitude to the establishments. When visitors come a-visiting, it can be overwhelming to take in all the differences this tiny island packs. So this is why I present you with: A Gay Boy Guide to the Neighbourhoods of Montreal!
The gays that live and play downtown come in all variations.They have one thing in common though; they like be in the center of the action. Student and professional gays mostly dominate downtown, because of the proximity to universities and all the office towers. I myself am a downtown gay. I like to walk places and have everything within spitting distance, whether it’s schools, restaurants, shopping, services or clubs. Because of downtown Montreal’s central location, the Plateau, the Old Port and the Lachine Canal are all a hop, jump and a skip away. Here are a few places that a gay could enjoy downtown:
Kafein (1429 Bishop, 514-904-6969)
Kafein used to be an extremely popular Concordia student hangout known for their hookah, sandwiches, cocktails and mish-mash maze of old sofas. Newly renovated, the hookah and old sofas have been replaced with a classic cocktail menu, cozy tables, new sofas and a more diverse clientele. The best part: $5 cocktails every weekday from 6-9PM. And these aren’t your average gin & tonics. We’re talking like fancy full-featured cocktails. Best drinking deal downtown, in my opinion.
Ferreira Café (1446 Peel, 514-848-0988)
Best Portuguese food downtown, and by extension, the city. Carlos Ferreira along with Executive Chef Marino Tavares and Sommelier Paulo Ferreira have worked hard to bring to you the best (seriously) that Portugal has to offer. From the food, wine, decor and service, everything screams Portuguese: All delicious, no pretension, simple good times. Reservation suggested.
Movie Theaters: If you want to catch a movie downtown, the two English theaters on Saint-Catherine are located just a 10 minute walk from each other. Cinema Banque Scotia (977 St-Catherine West) plays major releases with an IMAX and the AMC Forum 22 (2313 St-Catherine West) plays independent, foreign, and minor releases. Go on Tuesdays for the cheap seats!
Pullman (3424 Ave du Parc, 514-288-7779): Pullman wine bar is open late 7 days a week. The perfect friendly gathering place for friends. A massive wine selection to fit any budget and delicious finger foods to share makes Pullman my favorite choice for a low-key night out. I find Pullman to great enough to keep me coming back, but just subtle enough to never be obnoxious. The music is not too loud, the service is not too fast or slow, the decor is not insane. Pullman = simply good.
The Plateau / Mile End Gay
As trendy and relaxed as the Plateau itself, these Plateau/Mile End gays are a breed known for intellect, style and rolling their own cigarettes. They are artists, poets, dreamers, or they work in media. Don’t ask what they do in media, because they simply work in “media”. (So inside!) Find them here:
Laika (4040 St. Laurent Blvd. 514-842-8088)
Laika is a hybrid restaurant, cafe, bar, wifi space type-creature that is extremely popular with the Plateau/Mile-End gays. Restaurants because they love to eat, cafe because espresso is the only way to go, bar/lounge because a boy needs to drink, and wifi because they work in Media. Check this place out if you want to plug into the cool crowd!
L’Avenue (922 Mont Royal East, 514-523-9780): Breakfast, brunch, lunch, lunner or dinner, this place is busy for all meals of the day. On a Saturday morning at 10AM, the line down to block proves that the locals are serious about this place. Rumour has it that the electro punk decor and breakfast cure hangovers. Find many of the Plateau/Mile End gays here after blogging way too hard the night before at Laika.
The Old Port Gay
The Old Port Gay likes the luxurious living of Vieux-Montreal. They probably have their own consulting firm that consults on things like media. They like to peruse the streets in their Porsches, slip into the many galleries along Rue St. Paul to decorate their loft style apartment and wine-dine at the best restaurants in the city (located just steps from their building). Oh le sighs, the glamorous life of an Old Port gay:
Le Local (740 William, 514-397-7737)
Le Local was the hottest spot in Montreal when it opened a few year back, and it’s still got a fire going! Food, wine, and a price tag to match, could a hard-working gay ask for anything more? The perfect place to drop those hard earned dollars.
Olive & Gourmando (351 St. Paul W, (514) 350-1083)
At O+G, See the gay locals (gaoycals?) bolt in and out, slipping by the tourists as they grab their daily espresso from this breakfast/lunch staple located in the heart of Old Montreal. Queers generally just love this place. I go often because of the sandwiches, the raspberry lemonade and the cute boys (nay, the men!) that frequent here.
The W Hotel (901 Square Victoria, (514) 395-3100): The gays know what class looks like. So the W Hotel is brimming with refined gays of the Old Port. The Panorama Lounge has provided me with the most amazing cocktail I’ve ever had: The Pink Panther. I’m not sure what was in it, but I do know they had to carry me out after I tried to flirt my way to the recipe. Those bartenders are like bank vaults!