Queer Montréal stretches city-wide

Villeray - Place de Castelnau pedestrianized
Mark Andrew Hamilton

Mark Hamilton

This article was updated on April 26, 2023.

Montréal’s Gay Village is one of the world’s oldest and biggest, long a beloved gathering place for North America’s vibrant queer life that’s punctuated wth a big gay exclamation point each year with the epic celebrations of Montréal Pride. But Queer MTL reaches throughout the city, forever expanding and enriching an active and continually growing community. Think of the Village as the mothership, and these new school venues and events as the city’s explorations of new worlds and expression, laying claim to safe spaces throughout the city. Say it with us: We’re here, we’re queer—and we’re everywhere! Keep on top of queer happenings all over town with the QueerMTL Things to Do, published every month.

Kiki Vogue Ball at Bain Mathieu

All the Colours of the Rainbow

Montréals queer scene offers a party for every taste and a multitude of venues for every crew. Whether a crowded club on the Plateaus main thoroughfares or tucked away in St. Henris back pocket, queer is everywhere.

Lets have a Kiki
A growing hub of ballroom and vogue, MontréalMtl-KBA (Montréal Kiki Ballroom Alliance) and Ballroom 4 Community post regular updates on upcoming balls, functions and lessons throughout the city. These groups’ committed members also produce their own events featuring internationally renowned voguers and DJs, including the bi-weekly Bring It! Open To All events on every second Tuesday at Champs Bar. Think of it as a one-stop shop—lessons to get you ready leading to runways to demonstrate your skills.

Ladies united!
Ellelui's regularly scheduled club nights and activities range from pop parties to ping pong competitions, all in the name of building community and fostering connections. And with their ongoing open call for performers and DJs, Ellelui also offers new talent the chance to put themselves in front of Montréals supportive Lesbian/Queer community.

It’s Pop!
HomoPop’s busy soirées range from tribute nights to everyone’s favourite divas to underwear parties, often featuring drag performances by familiar faces from Canada’s Drag Race and beyond. And they’re not limited to just one quartier—HomoPop puts on events from St. Henri to the Plateau. 

Homoschelaga!
One of Montréals eastern-most neighbourhoods, the scrappy charms of Hochelaga in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium are home to the regularly held LuvHaus dance party nights at neighbourhood bar Blockhaus. An all-inclusive and fun-spirited party atmosphere featuring guest DJs and performances, LuvHaus is one of Montréals must-do LGBTQ+ soirées.

 

Café Cléopâtre - House of Laureen - Demone LaSlave

 

The Secret is Out
Since its founding in 2012, Lez Spread the Word has evolved from a party series into a Montréal powerhouse. Over a decade later, LSTW 2023 is many things: a gorgeous print magazine (past cover models include musicians Tegan & Sara, model Ève Salvail, actresses Jacqueline Toboni and Barbie Ferreira, creative powerhouse Lena Waithe, chanteuse Charlotte Day Wilson and 2-spirit grand chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer), collaborators in the world of cinema (all the way to Cannes and back), and a primary news source for English and French-speaking lesbians. And while editions of their special club night Où sont les femmes? featuring internationally renowned guest DJs at venues like Fitzroy and Renard may now come fewer and farther between (they’re busy!), LSTW’s special events remain unmissable must-dos in Montréal.

A Party for All the Boys
Held in the PlateauBar Belmont (which youll 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 new intergalactic couple went 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: Strip Karaoke—a queer-themed evening that finally unites the equally pleasing hobbies of public singing and pubic exhibitionism. Reach up for the high notes while stripping down for the crowd.


 

Queer Latin rhythms

DISCOÑOs club nights not only stuffs venues like Newspeak to the brim, this hot kid on the block makes the L in LGBTQ+ also stand for the Latinx queer community. With packed lineups of visiting DJ artists and performances, DISCOÑO offers a constantly shifting experience focused on techno, baile funk and Afro that you wont want to miss.

Kings of kings
Heralded by local drag daddy-to-all Charli DevilleManSpread shows off Montréals rapidly growing (or is it swelling?) drag king scene. Taking up space semi-regularly on some of the citys favourite cabaret stages, ManSpread is always a hot ticket—advance booking is very suggested for this one.


 

Never Apart

Artgay Galore

Montréals LGBTQ+ 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. (And those wanting to try out their own art talents won’t want to miss the monthly Drink & Draw at Bar Le Cocktail, featuring live models to sketch).

An archive of emotion
Open for public perusal of their large archival holdings drawn from Montréals LGBTQ+ communities, the Archives gaies du Québec give a glimpse into the foundational few who made Montréal into the queer Mecca it is today. The space now also holds regularly rotating exhibitions in its archival spaces including a retrospective look at AIDS posters and the art of local photographers and collage makers—call or e-mail for a look.

Reading is Fundamental!
Queer-lit fans will love The Violet Hour, a local organization responsible for regularly scheduled readings and the monthly Violet Hour Book Club. And pick up all of the copies you’ll need at L’Euguélionne bookstore.

Homes for the People
Located across the street from one another, Casa del Popolo and La Sala Rossa are eternally buzzing with activity. Rotating art exhibitions and musical performances abound, and their calendars feature some of Montréals most exciting and experimental—and quite often queer—programming. 

All For One and One For All
While Never Apart may have closed its doors as a public arts space, their online channels remain a wealth of local queer lore and LGBTQ+ artistic expression.


 

Dépanneur Le Pick-up

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.

A pastel rainbow
In Montréals Mile End neighbourhood, Pastel Rita is many things—café, natural wine bar, tattoo parlour—but most of all a queer meeting place for local creatives, students and coffee lovers. Painted in bright pastel hues and vibrant greens and golds, its also more than instagram ready for your next #mtlmoments selfie.

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. Theyve also opened up a second location in Hochelaga as equally suited to people watching and thirst-quenching. 

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. Besides the self-serve bowling lanes, the beloved NDQ is also host to comedy and karaoke nights, performances and queer speed dating activities. 

 

Mark Andrew Hamilton

Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton is the community director for QueerMTL, an internationally-touring musician with his projects Woodpigeon and Frontperson  and a graduate studies student of history researching LGBTQ+ activism in the city. He’s lived in Montréal since 2015, during which time he’s most often spotted atop a BIXI bike usally running a few minutes late.

See articles by Mark