The Ultimate Guide to Patios in the Gay Village

Richard Burnett

Montréal’s summertime patios are where locals and visitors alike while away leisurely hours sipping hot espressos or cold cocktails while people-watching. The lively one-kilometre-long Aires Libres pedestrian mall on Rue Sainte-Catherine in the Gay Village stretches east from Place Émilie-Gamelin near Berri-UQAM métro station to Rue Papineau, and is filled with patios and LGBTQ establishments to suit all tastes and thirsts.

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Al Fresco lunches and Family Fun

A choice summertime destination, Les Jardins Gamelin returns to Place Émilie-Gamelin at the western end of the Village, just outside the Berri-de-Montigny Métro station, until October 15.  Les Jardins Gamelin is essentially an oversize patio covered by a spectacular suspended sculpture that forms a luminous canopy, and features bar services at its snack bar, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. A new dairy bar (open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) will delight kids, as will a variety of daily cultural programming, including renowned DJs and live performances. Click here for daily schedules. Free admission.


Constellation of Drag Stars

The patio at Cabaret Mado is one of the busiest LGBTQ bars in the Village and a great place to spot celebrities and drag queens. Named for Montréal drag icon Mado Lamotte, Mado’s statue doubles nicely as the marquee to her drag nightclub, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2017. Another Montréal drag legend, Madame Simone – renowned for her outrageous hats and headgear – often works as the club’s “door bitch” in summertime.

Leather and Denim

Montréal’s Black Eagle, L’Aigle Noir is home to one of the busiest and most cruisy patios in the Village, mainly serving the leather and denim communities, but also popular with bears and the athletic crowd.


Star Gazing

One of Montreal’s oldest and largest LGBTQ establishments, enjoy a pitcher of ice-cold Sangria on the patio of the street-level Sky Pub while people-watching folks strolling along the lively pedestrian mall. Or gaze up at the stars – and the shirtless bartenders – on the hugely popular Sky rooftop patio where sunsplashed patrons can also dip into the rooftop pool or jacuzzi!

Queer Hotspot

Bar Renard is Montreal’s trendy LGBTQ bar-of-the-moment, popular with stylish young hipsters and the after-work crowd. Renard boasts a wide selection of wines, microbrewery beers and cocktails, and an intimate patio in the heart of the action.


Régine Chassagne’s Home Away from Home

The Haitian rum cocktail bar and restaurant Agrikol on Rue Amherst is brought to you by Régine Chassagne of famed Montréal rock band Arcade Fire and Toronto eatery The Black Hoof. Chassagne’s parents emigrated to Montreal from Haiti, so Chassagne knew how to package Agrikol, which boasts a leafy, lantern-lit rear patio that oozes island charm in the big city.


Rooftop Oasis

If you make it past the street-level Stock gay-male strip joint, upstairs at Club Unity you will discover a true Montréal oasis: a grandiose rooftop patio in the heart of the Village, with DJs, dancing and some of the most stunning views of the city.

Queens in the City

Legendary Montreal female impersonator Michel Dorion’s always entertaining  Bar Le Cocktail is a terrific nightclub to see live shows by many of the best drag performers in the city – including Dorion – and Le Cocktail’s comfortable patio always draws a great mix of people.

Where Everybody knows Your Name

Recently renovated sports bar Le Normandie on Rue Amherst is a terrific local watering hole where patrons can get liquored up cheaply. A local institution since 1981, the tavern features karaoke inside and has one of the nicest and busiest summer patios in the Village.

Bear City

Though officially a bears club, Stud Bar on the eastern edge of the Village welcomes all types of men, and all types go. Open since 1995, their motto is, “Stud Bar is a bar for men where men enjoy men!” There is plenty to do inside the labyrinthine nightclub which boasts two popular patios – one on Rue Ste-Catherine and the other on Rue Papineau – that both bask in the warmth of the sun until late evening.


Rainbow-Coloured Pedestrian Mall

The lively one-kilometre Aires Libres pedestrian mall on Rue Sainte-Catherine in the Gay Village stretches east from Place Émilie-Gamelin near Berri-UQAM métro station to Rue Papineau until September 25.

This summer, the city’s iconic “Boules Rose” – a.k.a. Pink Balls – installation that covers the entire pedestrian mall, including the patios outside the many bars, cafés and restaurants, has been replaced by 180,000 rainbow-coloured resin balls.  

The new “Rainbow Balls” can be seen from as far away as the Jacques Cartier Bridge and from the air, and has become so popular that tourists visit the strip on double-decker buses just to take pictures.