10 Things Guys Should Know When Traveling to Montreal
1. Montreal is what you get when you take Las Vegas or Miami and put it in a northern climate. It’s got everything you could want for a fun weekend that doesn’t involve a beach or a pool. The first reason to get to Montreal is age. You only need to be 18 to drink there, so it’s an obvious choice for college kids. (This doesn’t mean it can’t be fun in your 20s or 30s. You can just get started at an earlier age.) Maybe it’s a Canadian thing or maybe it’s a cold weather thing, but people in this town are always looking to party. The bar scene is fun, the strip clubs are prevalent, and the girls are hot. (Montreal is one of the outliers in the “bikini weather means girls have to be in shape year round” theory. Montreal girls are in bikini shape year round somehow.) The bars are open until 3 a.m., which is better than you get in most American cities. Throw in a casino and some good fun and you have yourself a road trip in waiting.
2. Don’t go to Montreal in the winter if you don’t have to. It’s fucking cold as shit. I was there in late January once and I couldn’t walk more than four blocks without having to duck inside to warm up. (You may want to call me a little bitch, but at least experience it for yourself before you judge.) It’s really nice during the summer, but it’s understandable if you would rather be at the beach. Therefore October or April are probably the two best months to go because you want to be there during hockey season. (We’ll get to why.) Option #2 would be the weekend of the Montreal Grand Prix (usually mid-June) because the city is filled with life and downtown is filled with smoking hot chicks. The Mondial de la bière festival (aka World of Beer festival) gives you a chance to try over 300 beers in one place during early June. That ain’t shabby either.
3. It’s pretty easy to find a hotel room in downtown Montreal. Just find whatever’s cheapest and not a roach motel between Rue Guy and Rue Saint Denis along Rue Ste Catherine. I’ve found some pretty cheap rates at the Novotel in years past. The Holiday Inn and the Days Inn are nice cheap alternatives as well. If you’re going to class things up, we ran into some NHL teams back in the day at the Hotel Vogue.
4. On one hand it’s pretty great that Montreal has a casino. It’s something Miami isn’t able to offer under 30 minutes away. It’s a real casino with table games and everything. But here’s the problem. There aren’t enough tables. It’s a struggle to find a spot on a black jack table or a craps table if you head to the casino anywhere during peak hours. Get there in the middle of the afternoon or rel late at night if you actually want to enjoy the experience. And like the drinking situation, you can get your degenerate gambler on at the ripe old age of 18.
5. Hockey is obviously huge in Canada, but it’s religion in Montreal. There have been hockey-related riots in Montreal in 1955, 1986, 1993, 1994, 2008, and 2010. What’s weirdest is that the 1994 riots were during a series between New York and Vancouver. (That’s the weird thing about Canada. They cheer for other Canadian teams if they’re playing American teams. You’d never see a New York fan cheering for Philadelphia against Calgary or a Detroit fan cheering for Chicago against Ottawa.) These guys love their hockey. This energy and passion makes the experience at the Centre Bell extremely exciting. The craziest part of the arena is the Molson Ex Zone where there’s a band and cheerleaders to keep the crowd fired up all game long. They sell out most games, but there’s always the secondary market if you don’t get your tickets early. There’s also something weirdly exciting about stuffing your face with as many of those little Lafleur hot dogs as possible.
6. Speaking of food, you’ll need to detour to Schwartz’s for a smoked meat sandwich at some point in your trip. Despite its name being ripe for a dirty joke, a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s is a thing of beauty. While it’s open late (1:30 a.m. on Friday and 2:30 a.m. on Saturday), you’re going to be partying too hard to make it there late night. Just be ready for a line when you show up at lunch time. You’ll also need to eat poutine, another Canadian specialty. How could you turn down French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds? The best option for that is at La Banquise. Not only did Anthony Bourdain make it there during his TV show, but some local Canadian girls took me there once after a night at the club. (It’s always good when the locals are on board too.) That’s right, it’s open 24 hours! Their list of different poutines is endless and it’s even busy once the bars close. Make some conversation with the girls online and stuff your face if you found one to take home yet. Shawarma is another big late-night food option in Canada. You’re silly if you go anywhere other than Restaurant Boustan. Other enjoyable food items come at Wilensky’s (special sandwich), L'Emporte Piece (grilled cheese with beef shoulder), and Rotisserie Romados (Portuguese chicken).
7. If you’re going fancy, then you need to go to Joe Beef. No, it’s not owned by some dudes from the Jersey Shore. It’s owned by a couple dudes, but the steaks are the best around as you’d figure by the name. They’re known for their double down foie gras with bacon and cheese appetizer, but you’ll probably have more fun when enjoying one of their great steaks. La Queue de Cheval is another good steakhouse option closer to downtown. (It opens back up in the fall of 2013.) Get either the Lou’s Cut (bone-in rib-eye) or the Kansas Cut. When you wake up in the morning you’ll probably not to think to look for bagels, but they have the second best bagels in the world. (Sorry, New York is still king and it’s not close. Montreal’s just better than all the other shit bagels you get around North America. The two most well-known bagel shops are St-Viateur Bagel Shop and La Masion Du Bagel. A more complete breakfast can be had at Beautys Lunchonette, but they have bagels there too if you’re jonesing.
8. I hope you don’t think I’m burying the lead by getting to the nightlife at point #8, but there’s a process of how we get through things here. (Plus why not save the best for last?) Chances are you’ve heard of Crescent stret if you’re a young lad looking to have fun, but let me tell you that the better time is on Boulevard Saint-Laurent. It’s where the locals hang out and you came to Montreal to bang a Canadian chick and not some fellow tourist from Buffalo. The big thing in Montreal is these supper clubs where restaurants turn into clubs once it gets closer to midnight. It’s a completely different scene than a regular club, however, with there being more in the way tables in the middle of the room and very little resembling a typical dance floor. You’ll have to move around and make friends, even if you have your own table. Places like Buonanotte and Restaurant Globe are likely your best options. Muzique and Pure are more like the clubs you’d get in Miami and Vegas. Tokyo Bar is my favorite spot along the wrong if you’re not looking to do table service. It’s got many rooms, including a roof deck, and attracts a nice young crowd. The scene down the street at Radio Lounge are pretty similar. Things get pretty wild at Chez Serge if you’re looking for a divier spot. Dieu du Ciel is a great spot for you if you like a wide variety of beer.
9. I’m not going to ignore Crescent street because I realize there are going to be people drinking there. The waitresses are ridiculously hot at Dundee’s, which is a good place to day drink or start your night. Sir Winston Churchill is the roudiest and busiest place on the street. It’s got the irish bar upstairs with the grimey dance floor thing going in the basement. A few blocks away you’ll find Irish Embassy, where you’ll find a cover band and a bunch of drunks. A few blocks in the other direction you’ll find Peel Pub, where the drinks are dirt cheap. (And if you’ve heard the rumors, I can’t necessarily verify them.) Afterhours is a pretty big scene in Montreal. It starts up at 2 a.m. and can run as late as 10 a.m. Just know that alcohol isn’t served, so you’ll need to be blasted off your ass or interested in some other recreational activities. Sometimes you just want to listen to house music and dance though. If that’s the case, head to either Stereo or Circus Afterhours and get after it.
10. When I said I was saving the best for last, I really meant it. The best part about Montreal strip clubs is full contact is allowed at most of them. If you’ve heard about strip clubs in Montreal, you’ve probably heard about Club Supersexe. It’s more about saying you went there and getting a t-shirt than actually being the best strip club around. It’s more party than serious strip club half the time. Things can get pretty weird at Club Wandas even though it’s one of the classiest establishments around. Chez Parée has been around for a long time and does really well after hockey games. If youi’re looking to get your money’s worth, I can suggest a couple spots specifically. Kamasutra Club near St Laurent is known for its extracurriculars. I’ve also heard that the Chateau du Sexe can give you a special time in the back area. For a final gag, put a looney (a dollar coin) in your mouth, sit with your back to the stage, lean back and rest your head on the stage, and the ladies will pick that coin up with either their tits or ass. It’s a nice way to cap your evening.
[<a data-cke-saved-href=”http://<a href=” href=”http://<a href=” http:=”” http://www.shutterstock.com=”” gallery-879871p1.html?cr=”00&pl=edit-00">Benoit” daoust<=”” a>=”” <a=”” >shutterstock.com<=”” a>”=””>Montreal image via ShutterStock]