Flying solo in Montréal
October 27, 2016 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Looking for offbeat, interesting things to do, places to meet people in my age range, traditional or alternative art galleries to visit, craft breweries, live music venues? and anything else that's a must see! Also looking for help on how to handle selling artwork internationally.

I'm a 23-year-old female from Milwaukee, WI going to Montreal from November 9-14, and I'm looking for recommendations! I'm an artist tabling at Expozine that weekend in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. That's also where I'll be staying, at an Airbnb. I'm hoping to possibly meet some people around my age range, and I hear the night life is good in that area? I'd love restaurant and bar recommendations; I'm not really into going to crazy night clubs but I love a lively bar with good beer, good conversation, and good music. Dive bars have a soft spot in my heart. Music show venues would be fun as well. Also craft breweries and coffee shops! I'm looking for recommendations in that area, as well as anywhere that's easy to get to on public transit.

I'm wondering too about areas or specific places to see good artwork. That could be a museum, but preferably galleries. Is there anything similar to NYC's Lower East Side gallery district? Or are there specific galleries you'd recommend?

What are the best tourist-y things to see? I'll be tabling all day on Saturday and Sunday, so I only have a couple days to bop around the city. What are the must-sees? And is there anything specific happening that weekend that would be interesting to check out?

One last thing: I'll be conducting business at Expozine selling zines and prints. I normally use a Square card-reader to make credit card transactions. As long as my phone is connected to internet, will there be any kind of issue using it in Canada rather than the States? Anything I need to prepare for before I leave?

Thanks for any help :)
posted by LonelyOnes to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
There are a handful of galleries on St.-Laurent within a few blocks of Galerie Bloom, which I quite like. It's more on the traditional side of things.

Farther north on the same street is Monastiraki, which I would call more alternative. (Check their hours because I think they're quirky.)

There are a lot of galleries in Old Port, too, but my sense is that they cater more to tourists and I don't know much about them or where they are specifically, just that I've walked past them at some point. (That's not a slam; I just haven't been in them and can't say much about them.)

Speaking of Old Port, if want to get coffee and/or a small bite, you could check out Crew Cafe for the space alone. Tommy is good too. There are plenty of good places on the Plateau, but those two might be worth a quick trip to Old Port.
posted by veggieboy at 9:50 AM on October 27, 2016

Best answer: Casa del Popolo is not too far from Expozine - it's a bar/café with decent vegan food and some local beers, and also one of the most traditional places for live music (the music area is separated from the bar). Le Ritz PDB is cool for music too.

The Montreal Bienalle is happening right now. I've only being to the Musée d'art contemporain section and I was meh about it - but there are a bunch other venues. The Belgo Building downtown has a bunch of galleries, and the 5455 Avenue de Gaspé building has a few galleries. DHC/Phi Centre has a Björk show right now but ends on Nov 12. Artist run centres: Oboro, Studio XX, La Central Powerhouse, Articule, MAI. The Darling Foundry is an interesting art centre. The Parisian Laundry is a private gallery that sometimes has good shows.

I second the Monastiraki rec: it's a gallery/curio shop/junk shop ran by a eccentric dude (the lovely Billy) who curates a cool rack of zines too.

Check Cult MTL for music and art listings.

Bars: The microbrewries I go to are Reservoir and Le Cheval Blanc, because they're sort of "uncool" places that have been there for a while. Not dives, but relaxed. There are so many microbreweries here tho. List. There are two most excellent super Quebecois dive bars not far from Expozine: La Remise, corner of Resther and Boucher; and Resto Bar Laurier, on Laurier and Henri-Julien (I had to look up their names, we usually say "the bar on Laurier"). Best if you order in French! Une pinte de biére blonde, SVP.

I think a fun thing to do is to get a Bixi ($5 CAD/day) and bike along the Lachine Canal from the Old Port to Atwater Market. Little Italy/Jean Talon market are also fun, and Mile-End for hipster-watching and good coffee (my favourite is Olimpico on St-Viateur, but there are many). Walking to the top of the mountain (it's an easy walk up a hill actually) is also nice, see the Promenade and Lac Castor.

Your Square won't work in Canada. Good news is that most people bring cash to Expozine anyway. Don't forget to bring change!

I'll be tabling at Expozine too! PM me if you have more questions.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 10:34 AM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

There's a really neat coffee shop in the Gay Village called La Graine Brulée. It has little cubby holes and nooks where you can hang out and even has super nintendo if you`re into that.

There`s a cool bookshop for graphic novels called Drawn and Quarterly which is in the area you`re staying in.

My favourite dive bar would be Grumpy`s, but that`s closer to downtown. You might want to try the Northstar on St Laurent, which has pinball machines.

I saw the Bjork exhibit at the Phi centre and it's definitely worth a visit. If you do end up checking out the Old Port I agree with veggie boy that you should try the coffee shop Tommy. I also liked this restaurant called Dolcetto which has Italian tapas (kinda pricey though).

the Museum of Jewish Montreal has walking tours of the Plateau area if you`re into that. If you like parks, check out Parc Lafontaine which has a beautiful lake in the middle of it.

I love the dumpling restaurant Harbin on St Laurent in the mile End. It`s really cheap, fast and good.

Montreal is a gorgeous and inspiring city. Have fun!
posted by winterportage at 12:15 PM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Minor warnings:

Bixi is not only $5/day, that's the base access cost but there's a pricing structure over time. You can't keep the bike all day for $5.

Montrealers don't call all of Old Montreal the "old port" so that could confuse. The old port is mainly de la Commune street facing the river, and the piers.
posted by zadcat at 12:18 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bixi is $5/day if you never use it over 30 min each time :)
posted by TheGoodBlood at 7:09 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Casa del Popolo is a fantastic café, bar, and live music venue, depending on the time of day, and is worth checking out for any of these reasons.

You should absolutely and without fail check out Monastiraki -- Billy Mavreas, who runs the place with his partner, Emilie, is an awesome artist and zine-maker. And you will probably really like the café two doors down, Le Cagibi.

The Drawn & Quarterly bookstore is also quite neat. And all four these places are within easy walking distance of each other and about 15 minutes from the Expozine venue.
posted by spindle at 8:10 PM on October 27, 2016

For beer, Dieu du Ciel is a can't miss. It's super chill (during the day at least) and the beer is pretty great across the board. 20 taps all brewed in house with lots of interesting, but not overly weird, styles.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 12:08 AM on October 28, 2016

Also for beer, Vices et Versa (on St-Laurent between Beaubien and St-Zotique) - rotating selection of 32 Quebec brews and very good food (with vegetarian/vegan options).
posted by remembrancer at 6:29 AM on October 28, 2016

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