Vive St-Laurent

It was one of those perfect summer evening in Montreal. The sun was going down slowly and the temperature had dropped into the high 20s giving the city a break from the day’s sweltering heat. I sauntered around my air-condition-less apartment, eating ice out of a bowl in the least amount of clothes possible, waiting until the last moment before getting dressed to go out. It was Friday and I was joining some friends for a night out on St-Laurent and the last thing I wanted was to show up looking like a dripping, sweaty mess. 

As the time to leave approached I got dressed in front of my fan, its blades spinning out cool air that helped at least for a few seconds. With a few auditory acknowledgements from the overheated cat confirming that my outfit was finally good enough to leave the apartment, I summoned an Uber and waited outside for the car to come. When the driver pulled up I headed downstairs and slid into the back of the car, the AC was at maximum and I could finally breath.

FullSizeRenderA perk of living close to the centre of all the action in Montreal was cheap transport fare. A few twists and turns along the city’s summer construction disaster-zones and I had finally arrived at SuWu. Though reluctant to get out of my air-conditioned ride, I realized that I couldn’t keep my friends waiting any longer. One of the great places along the Main, SuWu, which sits near the corner of Prince-Arthur and St-Laurent, was the perfect meeting place to grab a bite and a few drinks. I was spending the evening with a small gaggle of Montreal’s finest media and bloggers who were dressed to the nines and a fab publicist who knows absolutely everyone worth knowing in Montreal. She was responsible for getting the five of us together for a night out at a few of her favourite places on St-Laurent. The street is finally bouncing back from that construction nightmare that saw it torn to pieces a few years ago. Sitting at a large booth, we sampled a few items from SuWu’s recently updated menu including a fantastic beef tartar, fried chicken, poutine, grilled cheese, homemade hummus and so much more. Washing this all down with cocktails, beer and wine from their very inventive list, we enjoyed having a little more time than we normally do to sit and chat. Looking outside at the people rushing along on the busy sidewalks, it was easy to tell that it was going to be one of those crazy nights on the Main.

Being the only guy at the table, I was delighted to be surrounded by such talented and funny women (#beardandboobs). An enchanting side-effect of being part of Montreal’s social media circle was the depth of the talent pool I got to spend time with on a weekly basis; there were worse ways I could spend my nightlife. It didn’t hurt that up to now, I was getting all the girl’s attention but that was about to change. The second stop of the night was Apartment 200, just a few steps North from where we had just finished eating and there, the owner of the bar and a few of his friends joined us for the rest of the night.

IMG_9146Apartment 200 is the latest bar to occupy this very popular space on St-Laurent. I first knew the place as Sugar and since then it has had a plethora of name changes. What I like about Apt. 200 is the little room at the back known as the Library, it’s a “quieter” area of the bar and it’s the place we took up shop for an hour or so. More beer and cocktails were poured up and with each cocktail I got a little more charming. Yes, charming is the right word. As the time came to move on to the next stop we headed out. On our way out I saw a girl sitting alone on sofa with a pitcher of beer in her lap. I could’t help but wonder if she was alone by choice or did we just happen to walk by at a moment when her friends were at the bar. Either way she was smiling and rocking along to the beat.

IMG_9180Outdoors, the night was humid but it had cooled off a little. With a few more drinks keeping us going we headed out the third place of the night, École Privée. One of the newest and coolest nightclubs in Montreal, the line-up to get in was bonkers but line-ups don’t apply to us. A line was cut through the crowd and we followed a bouncer straight on into the bar. We ordered some drinks and lost our publicist almost instantly. Fresh drinks in hand, we were taken away to have a quiet moment before heading to our table. After snaking our way through to the back room, we were barely seated when I got a text from the publicist asking where we had ended up. She joined us after I sent a picture of a few candles burning on a table and a minute or two later we were cutting through the crowded dance floor and over to the VIP area where a table full of Belvedere vodka awaited. We were joined by a few more friends (some very cool movers and shakers from around the city) and partied until the wee hours of the morning. I remember my younger days, staying out till the club’s lights came on and the sun came up.  Walking home as day breaks isn’t something I do a lot of any more but the quiet in that early moment of the day, when even the birds are still sleeping, after a crazy night out on the town can be described as perfect. After École Privée I didn’t walk home. I got into a cab and on the way I explained to him why I liked Uber better. His reaction was obviously annoyed but my tired old bones didn’t care. All that mattered to me as we zoomed through the lights was what a great night we had.

The St-Laurent that I know and I love has changed but for the first time in years I can say that its now changed for the better and a new generation of restauranteurs, club owners and business trend setters are taking the Main to the next level. I might not have had the same energy I did when I was 23 years old but Montreal still has the same great energy its known for throughout the world. That thought brought a smile to my face as I entered my furnace of an apartment, said hi to my groggy cat, kicked off my shoes and slid into bed.

Vive St-Laurent!

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