Montreal’s Gay Village has boys, booze, and clubs open past dawn. But if you want to start your mornings with legendary Montreal bagels and end your night at a lo-fi electro dance party before drifting home, spend a weekend in Montreal’s Mile End. It’s laid-back and welcoming to LGBT tourists and the tattooed, bike-riding, book-toting, locally-sourced goodness might have you wanting to stick around just a little longer.
Dine at Sparrow (5322 St-Laurent) for high-end pub fare by way of India and Morocco. The space feels like a British living room owned by a family of adventuring rugby player explorers circa 1930. If the weather isn’t cooperating, curl up on the windowside sofas and linger with a drink from a menu that repeatedly tops Montreal’s best cocktail lists.
Afterward, head to the Musée d’Art Contemporain (MAC). It’s not in Mile End, but the museum’s Les Nocturnes du MAC, on select Fridays throughout the year, are worth the trip. Check out French artist Sophie Calle’s Voir la mer, a short film capturing people’s first time seeing the sea, take a guided tour of the museum’s collection, hit the bar, and enjoy the DJs and video installations. This year’s Nocturnes are scheduled for April 10, June 16, and November 6.
Hit up one of Mile End’s two Montreal-style bagel shops, St-Viateur or Fairmount (263 St-Viateur and 74 Fairmount—both have their rabid acolytes), or grab a bag of croissants at Boulangerie Guillaume (5132 St-Laurent). Get your carb fix during an easy hike to the top of Mont Royal, the city’s namesake peak and Mile End’s neighbor, for perfect views out over the city and the St. Lawrence River.
If you went too hard Friday night (the Gay Village is, after all, a short walk from MAC) or don’t feel like hiking, spend the day gallery hopping. Galerie Yves Laroche (6355 St. Laurent), Occurrence (527 Av. Du Parc), Galerie d’Avignon (88 Laurier O), Articule (262 Fairmount O), and Centre Clark (5455 Av. de Gaspé) feature installation, performance and traditional work. At Monastiraki (5478 St-Laurent) you can pick up antiques and knick-knacks, or grab super-affordable limited edition prints and works on paper.
More on Saturday, and Sunday, and an extra tip, AFTER THE JUMP...