The Bohemian Artist
Berlin would be a tad too far for a stag weekend away, but Montreal will certainly do the trick for your groom-to-be. He rides a fixie, his favorite bands can’t be found on Spotify and thinks Williamsburg is so 2007. Montreal has long been a playground for artists and students with plenty of novelties that are sure to shut up your ‘know it all’ groom-to-be. Give him a weekend that will really spin his vinyl.
The Bachelor Weekend Basecamp | Le Petit Hôtel
When strolling along Rue Saint-Paul, you may just miss Le Petit Hôtel. Seamlessly tucked into the hardened façades of Vieux-Port (which goes by Old Montreal or the Old Port in English), the 28-room boutique hotel should not be looked over despite its miniature name. Your team is sure to be impressed by the property’s original masonry and exposed brick, in addition to modern upgrades like hardwood floors, Quebec-designed furniture and a lobby lounge mural by Montreal street art crew En Masse.
The hotel’s 24 x 7 Petit Café is the perfect spot to grab a quick allongé and a croissant while catching up on emails and waiting to rendezvous with the other groomsmen.
Recommended Reservation: Two of the XL lofts which can each accommodate four sleepers. Freshen up in the multi-jet shower, before unwinding with a round on the Nintendo Wii and finally collapse into goose down duvets and fluffy pillows.
Local Attraction | Contemporary Art Hop
Montreal remains the undisputed creative capital of Canada and a number of private contemporary art galleries scattered around the city are lending their hands to support that claim. Near Le Petit Hôtel, Old Montreal’s Phi Centre and DHC curate an impressive assortment of artists addressing current topics in society and in the news. The former also screens an eye-catching line-up of art flicks and a newly-opened virtual reality garden.
For a self-guided art meander through Little Burgundy and St-Henri, pop into Arsenal/Division and followed by Parisian Laundry. Meanwhile, the newly-opened Never Apart in Mile-Ex is utilizing its “12,000 square feet of gallery, music production and creative space” to exhibit emerging artists spanning a variety of subject matters and music genres.
If street art is more the hubby-to-be’s scene, follow Wall2wall Montreal’s Walking Tour map which weaves along the Boulevard St-Laurent, passing by the lively public art erected for the city’s annual Mural Festival. Otherwise, Walks on The Wild Side is happy to show you around on a guided tour of Montreal street art which begins adjacent to urban art gallery Station 16.
Team Activity | Mile-End Craft Beer Tasting
The 514 (the city’s area code) also holds the title of Canadian metropolis with the highest number of restaurants per capita (and only second in North America behind NYC). The city’s maturing microbrewery scene presents the perfect pairing. For some serious craft brews, your bachelor weekend crew will have to have their pints pulled north of Rue Sherbrooke at brewpubs such as Benelux, Helm and Le Réservoir. At the head of the pack, Dieu du Ciel’s Péché Mortel (Imperial Stout) and Corne du Diable (IPA) are winning the brewer a loyal following across Canada and the US. Santé!
Style & Grooming | Emporium Barbershop
Mile-Ex’s favorite barber Emporium will have you and the boys looking fresher than a peppermint whether you’re looking for a cut, beard trim or a straight razor shave. Not one to wait around paging magazines at the hairdresser? Play waiting room around the corner at summer spot Bar Alexandraplatz or in the winter at Dispatch Coffee.
Splurge Dinner | Manitoba
Not more than five paces from Emporium, Manitoba is bringing the wild bounty of Quebec to its shabby-chic tables. Its well-read wait staff are helpful in pointing out some of the menu’s more unconventional and foraged ingredients like welks, hemp nuts or peppery green alder. Its wine card pulls on organic varieties though bottles of Labatt 50 are stocked in the fridge if you’re feeling rogue.
Drinks on Drinks | Walking The Main
Make your way back south of Van Horne into the boho nucleus of Montreal, the Mile-End. Start the evening over some scotch (and cigars, if you fancy) at the Whisky Café. Once everyone is feeling a bit more loosened up, a few rounds of table tennis are only a hop across the street at the Ping Pong Club.
Late Night Munchies | Patati Patata or La Banquise
Make sure to arrive before the 2:00 a.m. closing time at Patati Patata for a life-affirming poutine. This nutty outpost at the corner of St-Laurent and Rachel will wrap you all in the warm embrace of crispy fries, luscious gravy and cheese curds squeaky as a falsetto. Avenue Rachel contender La Banquise wins for breadth of poutine options and the convenience of being open around the clock.
Hungover Brunch | Mile-End
Photos courtesy of Lawrence, Fabergé and The Sparrow via Facebook
Weekend brunch in Montreal is legendary but also comes with the stumbling block of “walk-in only” policies. A reliable trio of spots centers around Fairmount and St-Laurent with Lawrence (polished English fare), Fabergé (diner classics revamped) and The Sparrow (pub grub served on mismatched plates) all serving up delicious breakfasts to soak up last night’s questionable escapades.
Souvenir for the Ms. | Baked Goods from the Mile-End
Nothing says “I Love You” quite like baked goods. Schlep home a dozen of Montreal’s renowned sesame bagels from St-Viateur or Fairmount. Throw your pre-conceptions of the New York bagel out the window; the Montreal variety is tighter, chewier, slightly sweet and baked in wood-fired ovens. Alternatively, an equally honorable Challah from Hof Kelsten (only on Fridays) or Cheskie’s will do the trick. Celiac fiancée? She’ll love a stylish gift from ibiki.