A classic night of pints, live music, bike rides, The Village and 2 am Poutine at La Banquise.
There is no shortage of nighttime activities in Montreal. I figured that out back in my first two weeks here when I attended an unplanned, free rave in the middle of the street. With the weekend looming in the not so distant future, Thursday nights are filled with vibes in Downtown Montreal. Go, and you will find.
More recently, however, my great Montreal nights have mostly been at the collective that I live at, Les Échelles. We have music, art, folks and conversation.
I enjoy a good night out in the town but mostly I have chosen Les Échelles nights over those. Last night, however, out into the city I went.
The night began with a bike ride to La Voie Libre and supper at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. I had an excellent miso soup prepared by a Buddhist nun (I’ve been ignorant to their existence before last night), as well as a colourful salad. Mother Hubbard is a community enriching and food sharing initiative by the Concordia Multi-Faith and Spirituality Center. Every Thursday night during the semester dinner is served for $2.
After sharing food and community, I headed back to La Voile Libre to help (observe) Loïc and Rèbecca work on their bikes. I got my hands greasy holding brake pads and loosening vices. However, I spent the majority of my time making keychains out bike chains under Loïc’s guidance.
We cleaned up, sang, paid, hopped onto our bikes and enjoyed our Right To Move.
May the celebrations commence!
Our first stop was Grumpy’s. This is a basement bar on Rue Cresent, with live folk and bluegrass music on Thursday nights. We had arrived before the band did but by the time we were halfway through our pints they had us swaying and tapping out feet.
On a cigarette break, we made some new friends who joined us at the table we were eyeing from our original seats at the bar. This new seat was prime property as we were feet away from the source of the groovy tunes. One and a half pints in, my ‘ability’ to speak French improved drastically and I had a proper conversation almost entirely in French with my new acquaintance.
My newfound confidence reminded me that super at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and five strawberries earlier in the day was all that I had eaten. Leaving Loïc and Rèbecca behind I sprinted over to 3 Brasseurs for some sweet potato fries.
On the street side, we regrouped and wolfed down the portion of fries. The night was young, and a city full of options lay before us. We had great mechanical inventions in our possession, so off we went.
Through the empty streets, we whistled and peddled, the cold air on our faces was welcomed as beads of perspiration formed on our necks.
Into The Village, we rode to a longtime favourite of Rébecca, L’Escallier. There weren’t strings of pink lights hung across the street, but further ahead, fluorescent blue lights added to the atmosphere of the street.
We locked our bikes and traversed a narrow staircase leading to an upper room. There wasn’t any live music, and the kitchen was closed. It was about that time of the night, the time when eating becomes the primary focus. Or was it?
Not ten minutes later there was a live band on stage, and the room swirled and shook as Loïc, Rébécca, and some others danced jovially and freely. Loïc emancipated his feet from his shoes and got into the swing of things.
It was beautiful to see how they all moved in this dimly lit room. The vibe was ultra groovy and two songs later the cellist was standing shirtless on top of his instrument.
I joined the dance floor with some enticing from Rèbecca and Loïc. We swirled and twirled, soaking in the live music and getting hungrier by the second.
Ahh! There it is, we were finally at that part of the night.
Where shall we go? What we were having was already decided. Why Poutine of course!
Poutine is the only acceptable post partying food to have on a night out in Montreal.
A bet was made, a bet was lost. We arrived at La Banquise with one person paying for another’s dinner. What luck we had, there was no line for the most revered Poutine shop in all of Montreal. With a page full of Poutine options we took a few minutes to decide. I took longer than others as expected.
We ordered, and after what felt like an eternity later, our variety of poutines arrived. In a matter of minutes, the onions, sauerkraut, bacon and mushrooms which adorned our poutines was being digested.
Satisfied with our night, we mounted our bikes and rode towards Les Échelles, our home.
Tired and content, we brushed our teeth and went to bed somewhere after 3 am.
Follow the links to check out the venues that we visited.
Thanks for reading. What are your favourite places to visit on a night out in Montreal?
Stay adeventurous, stay beachin’, stay in,