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The Village's summertime Boules Roses installation
The Village's summertime Boules Roses installation
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Montreal's Best LGBTQ Bars and Hangouts

Where to have a gay ol' time

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The Village's summertime Boules Roses installation
| Shutterstock

Montreal is a bit of an oddity for LGBTQ nightlife and bars — many consider it one of the most progressive cities on the continent, but it's not exactly overflowing with gay bars. Big gay, lesbian, and queer venues, from Le Drugstore and Complèxe Bourbon in the Village, to Cabaret Playhouse and Royal Phoenix in the Mile End, have all come and gone. And some of those that remain — from mega-club Unity to the multi-level Sky — have moved towards just being regular "straight bars".

But some old timey gay bars remain, and a host of new hang spots popular among younger, queer crowds have surfaced too, not all of which fit the classic gay bar mould. The locations on this map are a mixed bag, so read carefully before choosing your watering hole.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.

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Don't be fooled by the bleak exterior which hints at this bar's past life as a garage, Le Ritz (formerly Il Motore) is a veritable cultural hub. It's not officially a gay bar by any stretch, but is the go-to venue for a number of queer dance parties, and neighbourhood queers show up en masse for other shows and movie screenings on site. There'll be a cover charge if something is going on, but it operates as a regular (and cheap) bar on off nights.

Le Cagibi

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This cafe, recently displaced from Mile End to Little Italy, is a long-time hub for north-side queers. Closer to a coffee shop than a bar (although it serves alcohol), expect a ramshackle interior decorated with knick-knacks and great vibes.

Notre Dame des Quilles

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In its early days, NDQ was the de-facto bar for queer women in Montreal; its clientele is pretty broad nowadays, with its cheap drinks and bowling alley drawing all sorts. But the queer vibes are still there, especially at their weekend dance parties, special events such as LSD (Lesbian Speed Dating), and at Sunday night karaoke staple Lipster.

Bar Le Stud

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Much of the Village has progressively de-gayed over recent years; this place has not, continuing the straddle the line between bar and club. Le Stud had a history of being notoriously unwelcoming to women; a minor media firestorm changed their ways, but nonetheless it's still overwhelmingly populated by gay men.

Bar Le Cocktail

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Just a reliable ol’ gay bar at the east end of the Village, spread across two levels, with plenty of red lights, moderately-priced drinks, and drag shows on a regular basis.

District Video Lounge

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Opening up a gay bar at a time when many others are shutting down might seem like a bold move, but District Video Lounge has made it work, with affordable drinks, an open-to-all attitude, screenings of Drag Race, and a tidy, relaxed space.

L'Aigle Noir

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As is standard in many Village bars, the Black Eagle skews pretty heavily male, specifically towards some hybrid version of the bear-daddy-leather crowds. It's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's a lively mainstay of the Village.

Bar Renard

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Probably the nicest bar in the Village on a range of measures, from quality of drinks to lovely staff, Renard was an extraordinarily welcome addition to the Village strip upon opening a couple of years back.

Le Club Date

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An old-style piano bar that resembles a saloon on the inside, Club Date has dispensed with the keyboard instruments and replaced them with a karaoke machine, drawing a mixed crowd to the heart of the Village.

Club Unity

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Once known as the go-to club for university-age gays, it’s not clear whether Unity even counts as a gay club anymore (although party nights with names like “Ménage à Trois” suggest it still might be). I any case, it’s very much open to everybody, and has a solid rooftop terrasse to boot.

Le samedi 28 juillet 2018 au Club Unity. Découvrez nos meilleurs moments ainsi que des photos exclusives: instagram.com/ClubUnityMTL Pour connaître nos prochains évènements: clubunity.com/events

Posted by Club Unity on Friday, August 3, 2018

Cabaret Mado

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Drag queen Mado Lamotte was voted Montreal's tackiest personality for several years running, mostly due to her great success running the city's most prominent drag establishment (and now, a restaurant next door). Shows run most nights and have become somewhat of a tourist draw, but like any good tourist attraction, the locals still like Mado.

The Wiggle Room

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Burlesque is the name of the game at The Wiggle Room, hidden on a part of St-Laurent that's otherwise short on queer-leaning venues. It's best to check online before coming as show nights and cover charges can vary quite a bit.

Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.

Don't be fooled by the bleak exterior which hints at this bar's past life as a garage, Le Ritz (formerly Il Motore) is a veritable cultural hub. It's not officially a gay bar by any stretch, but is the go-to venue for a number of queer dance parties, and neighbourhood queers show up en masse for other shows and movie screenings on site. There'll be a cover charge if something is going on, but it operates as a regular (and cheap) bar on off nights.

Le Cagibi

This cafe, recently displaced from Mile End to Little Italy, is a long-time hub for north-side queers. Closer to a coffee shop than a bar (although it serves alcohol), expect a ramshackle interior decorated with knick-knacks and great vibes.

Notre Dame des Quilles

In its early days, NDQ was the de-facto bar for queer women in Montreal; its clientele is pretty broad nowadays, with its cheap drinks and bowling alley drawing all sorts. But the queer vibes are still there, especially at their weekend dance parties, special events such as LSD (Lesbian Speed Dating), and at Sunday night karaoke staple Lipster.

Bar Le Stud

Much of the Village has progressively de-gayed over recent years; this place has not, continuing the straddle the line between bar and club. Le Stud had a history of being notoriously unwelcoming to women; a minor media firestorm changed their ways, but nonetheless it's still overwhelmingly populated by gay men.

Bar Le Cocktail

Just a reliable ol’ gay bar at the east end of the Village, spread across two levels, with plenty of red lights, moderately-priced drinks, and drag shows on a regular basis.

District Video Lounge

Opening up a gay bar at a time when many others are shutting down might seem like a bold move, but District Video Lounge has made it work, with affordable drinks, an open-to-all attitude, screenings of Drag Race, and a tidy, relaxed space.

L'Aigle Noir

As is standard in many Village bars, the Black Eagle skews pretty heavily male, specifically towards some hybrid version of the bear-daddy-leather crowds. It's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's a lively mainstay of the Village.

Bar Renard

Probably the nicest bar in the Village on a range of measures, from quality of drinks to lovely staff, Renard was an extraordinarily welcome addition to the Village strip upon opening a couple of years back.

Le Club Date

An old-style piano bar that resembles a saloon on the inside, Club Date has dispensed with the keyboard instruments and replaced them with a karaoke machine, drawing a mixed crowd to the heart of the Village.

Club Unity

Once known as the go-to club for university-age gays, it’s not clear whether Unity even counts as a gay club anymore (although party nights with names like “Ménage à Trois” suggest it still might be). I any case, it’s very much open to everybody, and has a solid rooftop terrasse to boot.

Le samedi 28 juillet 2018 au Club Unity. Découvrez nos meilleurs moments ainsi que des photos exclusives: instagram.com/ClubUnityMTL Pour connaître nos prochains évènements: clubunity.com/events

Posted by Club Unity on Friday, August 3, 2018

Cabaret Mado

Drag queen Mado Lamotte was voted Montreal's tackiest personality for several years running, mostly due to her great success running the city's most prominent drag establishment (and now, a restaurant next door). Shows run most nights and have become somewhat of a tourist draw, but like any good tourist attraction, the locals still like Mado.

The Wiggle Room

Burlesque is the name of the game at The Wiggle Room, hidden on a part of St-Laurent that's otherwise short on queer-leaning venues. It's best to check online before coming as show nights and cover charges can vary quite a bit.

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