The Gay Groom
With legendary gay nightlife, Montreal is an easy pick for recently betrothed gents looking to sneak in some pre-wedding fun. The Gay Village, centered along Ste-Catherine Street West, still remains the beating heart of the city’s LGBT community albeit within a city that continues to embrace its gay-friendly identity throughout. Time your gay Montreal bachelor party weekend over the summer when Ste-Catherine turns into a car-free zone with ropes of adorable pink bubbles strung high above. A weekend in Montreal: equal parts fun, funky and fab.
The Bachelor Weekend Basecamp | Bed and Breakfast du Village
Hosted by owners Phillipe and Nicolas, wake up at Bed & Breakfast du Village right in the center of le Village. Renovated bedrooms in the main house are restful and come with a full breakfast in the morning enjoyed communally in the kitchen. Guests will love staying just half of a block down from the pedestrian stretch (Aires Libres) and around the corner from Beaudry metro station.
BBV was awarded a top value designation for Montreal based on the B&B’s very positive reviews accumulated by trivago in relation to its affordable price point. Get in touch with Phillipe and Nicolas soon to confirm availability for you and the entourage.
Recommended Reservation: BBV’s Cottage plus additional rooms in the main house. Rent out the property’s cottage whose fully-equipped kitchen, living room and separate bedroom are spread across two floors. The five bedrooms in the main house can happily accommodate the rest of your party.
Local Attraction | Picnic in the Park
Though the husband-to-be may be a bit too old to fully appreciate Quebec’s liberal minimum drinking age (at a ripe 18 years), tolerant attitudes towards leisurely drinks al fresco makes boozy picnics a favorite (and completely legal) activity of Montrealers.
One block over from BBV, health food store Rachelle-Béry can jump start your hamper with organic produce and snacks. Continue further up Wolfe Avenue to the Marché St-Jacques where you can float from the greengrocer to the cheesemonger to the baker. Procure yourself your beer of choice at the ubiquitous Montreal dépanneur (corner convenience store) or for a better selection of wines at the nearest SAQ (liquor store).
Immediately north of the Market is the Plateau’s largest green space, Parc Lafontaine. Throw your picnic blanket down and spread out on the gentle hills by the pond. Other favorite spots around town include the west side of Parc Jean-Drapeau, whose green space is sprinkled with retired Expo 67 pavilions including the iconic Biosphère.
If your bachelor weekend crew is big on electronic music, take a look at Piknic Electronik’s schedule to see if any favorite DJs are spinning while you’re in town. Other Montreal music festivals, namely Île Soniq, Fullflex Express, Osheaga and Heavy Montréal also pass through Jean-Drapeau. Piknic’s wintertime edition Igloofest brings out a lively retro ski suit-clad crowd ready to rave in the frigid zero degree air. But hey, pourquoi pas?
On Sundays in the summer, you won’t have a problem locating Tam-Tams in Parc Jeanne-Mance where a congregation of drummers set the reverberating beat for the weekly celebration. From 10:30 a.m. until sunset, the drum circle around the George-Étienne Cartier Monument sets the soundtrack for Montrealers looking to enjoy a lazy day of picnicking, tossing a Frisbee and even live action roleplaying in the adjacent forest.
Team Activity | Pride & Ezkapaz
Short of a pride bonanza, put your wedding party’s teamwork skills to the test at Ezkapaz. The three different escape game scenarios are sure to bring out the best and worst of your characters in a soft rehearsal of the big day’s stress. Elect your challenge: finding a globe-trotting photographer’s prized jewel, revisiting your glory days from the 80s and 90s or track down an underground society’s top secret document.
Style & Grooming | Mohawk Barbier etc
Put your main man’s hairstyle in the hands of Mohawk’s barbers who will have him looking at his best. With a loyal Village clientele, Mohawk offers an unpretentious ambiance with fine cuts at affordable prices – shaven sides not required.
Splurge Dinner | Le Mousso & O’Thym
Photos courtesy of the Le Mousso Facebook page
Gourmands should not make the mistake of falling down the gastronomic black hole that is Le Mousso’s beautiful photo stream. The daintily-built plates will mesmerize the boys with color, texture and shapes even before the first bite. Let Head Chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard guide you through a seven-course prix fixe menu that may include sunchokes, dashi gel, suckling pig ribs, and how about some melt-in-your-mouth beet and foie gras cotton candy?
Photos courtesy of the O’Thym Facebook page
Montreal is also blessed with a full range of Bring Your Own Wine restaurants (and that is without corkage fee too). O’Thym’s evening menu looks eastwards with Nova Scotian scallops served atop a turnip mousse and Grilled PEI flank steak with papas bravas. Make it extra riche with an additional portion of foie gras, a decadent accompaniment to some celebratory Champagne.
Drinks on Drinks | Agrikol & Village favorites
The discreet cream-colored Agrikol on Amherst is our suggested first stop for the night. A collaborative project between Toronto restaurateurs and Arcade Fire members, Agrikol sources its sounds, sips and knick-knacks from Haiti. Rum is the key ingredient here making its way into many a koktel which pair wonderfully with bar snacks like griots and fried plantains.
Montrealers are notorious night owls. With a couple of drinks in your system, take on Village hotspots like Unity, Stud Bar and Sky for some high-energy partying. Mado’s nightly drag performances are also a Montreal entertainment institution in itself.
Late Night Munchies | Le Red Tiger
Reviving the area north of the Village, Le Red Tiger imports a fashionable crowd into what appears to be a familiar hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese lunch spot, granted with smooth cocktails to match. Dependables like Rouleaux impériaux (the fried variety of spring rolls) and grilled skewers stand next to new front-runners like lemongrass and satay escargots. The glowing neon sign above the bar “Càng Dông Càng Vui” (the more the merrier) may become the night’s motto.
Hungover Brunch | Beauty’s
Go over your ‘What happened last night’ debrief with some strong diner coffee and omelettes at Beauty’s. Though you may find yourself greeted by the line up outside, the wait is certainly worth it for the Beautys Special (a noble cream cheese, onion, tomato & lox bagel) and their Challah French Toast elevated by some good ol’ pure Canadian maple syrup.
Souvenir for the Mr. | Frank & Oak
After brunch, snake your way further into the Mile-End in the direction of Frank & Oak’s original atelier on St-Viateur. Pick up some well-made easy-to-wear threads for the fiancé. Shirts, sweaters and bottoms are crisp enough for work and comfortable enough for home. Café Nevé’s bar inside the store proposes a killer coffee and cookie duo.