Queer Montréal stretches city-wide
This article was updated on June 10, 2019.
Montréal’s Gay Village is one of the world’s oldest and biggest, long a beloved hub for North America’s vibrant queer life. But Queer MTL reaches throughout the city, forever expanding and enriching an already active community. You can think of the Gay Village as the mothership, and these new school venues and events as the city’s inter-neighbourhood explorations, laying claim to safe spaces throughout the city. Here’s just a few.
All the Colours of the Rainbow
Montréal’s queer scene offers a party for every taste and a multitude of venues for every crew. Whether a crowded club on the Plateau’s main thoroughfares or tucked away in St. Henri’s back pocket, queer is everywhere.
The Secret is Out
Since its founding in 2012, Lez Spread the Word has evolved from a party series into a Montréal powerhouse. LSTW 2017 is many things: a gorgeous print magazine (Tegan & Sara modelling across two matching covers for the first issue), collaborators in the world of cinema (all the way to Cannes and back), and a primary news source for English and French-speaking lesbians. If all that weren’t enough, LSTW still also hosts their monthly club night Oú sont les femmes? at venues like Fitzroyand Renard, featuring internationally renowned guest DJs.
A Party for All the Boys
Held in the Plateau’s Bar Belmont (which you’ll notice immediately for the queue of handsome lads waiting to get in), the monthly Mec Plus Ultra – MPU for short – has created an all-inclusive and fun-spirited party atmosphere with guest DJs, performances, and the occasional voguing tutorial. Each edition is given its own name and theme, all aimed at causing interaction and networking both flirty and otherwise. At an earlier edition, all attendees were given stickers with an alien from Space Invaders stuck to their shoulders. Upon spotting the matching invader, the task was heading to the bar together for a drink.
Above the Neon Sign
Now famous for more than just its buxom neon sign, Café Cleopatra has evolved from its beginnings as a straight stripper bar to include an all-welcoming upstairs room where everyone is welcome and anything goes. A favourite venue for drag nights, Café Cleopatra also hosts the monthly Bareoke – a queer-themed evening that finally unites the equally pleasing hobbies of public singing and public strip-tease.
Montréal’s LGBT population has long been a major player in maintaining the city as an arts capital. These venues keep fighting the good fight in keeping MTL art queer.
All For One and One For All
Never Apart is more than just an arts space. Gallery, special event venue, presentation society, and mind-blowing party space, you haven’t experienced queer Montréal until you’ve visited Never Apart. A constantly changing programme featuring LGBT legends and young upstarts just hitting the scene, Never Apart is transforming Montréal into an international focal point in queer art.
A House for the People
The two rooms of Casa del Popolo are eternally buzzing with activity. The front room bar features rotating art exhibitions, while the performance area in back offers some of Montréal’s most exciting and experimental – and quite often queer – programming.
Quenching Thirsts and Filling Hungers
Exploring all that queer Montréal has to offer requires regular refuelling, and these queer-friendly locations excel at nourishment in both solid and liquid forms.
Down on the Corner
More than just a corner store, the Dépanneur Le Pick Up offers yummy sandwiches and baked goods with one of best backyard terraces to watch the denizens of Mile-Ex passing by.
Sing it loud and proud
What at first appearances is a steamy-windowed neighbourhood bar, Notre Dame des Quilles reveals itself upon entry as so much more. If you’re hungry, the hand-made steamy pies by Pizza Bouquet will leave you feeling happily stuffed. Don’t leave without trying out the self-serve bowling lanes, and if the idea of singing Haddaway’s ‘What is Love’ along with a roomful of friendly hipster karaoke fans is your idea of fun, Sunday night’s packed Lipster is definitely your jam. Other great programming includes the LGBTQ+ Stand Back comedy nights hosted by Tranna Wintour and LSD NIGHT – Montréal’s only Lesbian speed dating events.
A New Home for an LGBTQ+ Institution
After long holding court at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Saint-Viateur in the heart of Mile End, Le Cagibi moved locations in Spring 2018 slightly north to Little Italy – which TimeOut recently named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. Veggie and vegan fare plus expertly made hot drinks and fresh lemonades have kept Cagibi bustling with queer energy – the friendly, community-minded staff ensure no matter where they may open their door, everyone’s always welcome.
Mark Hamilton, blogger, Queer MTL community manager
Male, mid-to-late 30s, tall and bearded. Likes romantic walks on Mont Royal, long-distance cycling, beard oil products and antique travel guides. Has a bad habit of falling in love with men in vintage photographs who are certainly long dead. If he could be anything, he’d live his life as a professional flâneur. Until then, he spends his time writing, making music, and wandering.
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