Whether you arrive in town a few days early or stay for the weekend, it makes sense to throw a little touristic pleasure into the mix while you’re taking care of (the future of) business at C2 Montréal.
As one of North America’s culinary crown jewels, Montreal boasts an impressive selection of places to eat, drink and be merry. The Southwest borough of the city, the traditional home of C2 Montréal since its inception, is certainly no exception.
Called “Le Sud-Ouest” by locals, it’s a collection of several storied, historic neighbourhoods with plenty to explore, especially in terms of its burgeoning nightlife.
Please your palate in “The Point”
A short hop away from the C2 site at Grandé Studios in the neighbourhood of Pointe-Sainte-Charles are several highly recommended hotspots, ones connected by a mix of shared staff, ownership, patrons or general vibe.
If you’re in the mood for pizza, start your night at Fugazzi, an uber-trendy new spot on Centre Street. It features top-of-the-line chefs and a great atmosphere — just make sure you call ahead for a reservation, it’s always jam-packed.
If there’s no room at Fugazzi, simply make your way across the street to Knox Taverne, located on the corner of Centre and Shearer. They serve upscale pub fare and craft cocktails in a place with a neighbourhood feel, and there’s outdoor seating, which is always a plus.
Once you’re finished with your meal, head over to Milky Way for some cocktails and a blast of 1980’s Miami tropical freshness. Look for a nondescript door (and the only bouncer on the block) directly to the right of Fugazzi, and enjoy some fancy drinks on the second floor. If you’re with somebody famous, don’t be tempted to name-drop — they’ll only make you wait longer!
Within a few blocks, you can find a host of other options, including fresh Californian/Mexican staples at Café Cantina, Vietnamese delicacies at family-run gem Le Petit Sao, intensely flavourful Caribbean fare at Boom J’s, and for the truly adventurous, Frais Express, an almost-unknown Chinese restaurant housed in a former corner store with meals capped at $5 per plate.
A little off the beaten path, you can also find Microbrasserie 4 Origines, a brewery open from 4 pm to 1 am complete with an outdoor patio, a big screen for sports inside and plenty of free board games to enjoy with friends. Since they don’t have a kitchen, they encourage patrons to order takeout and have it delivered!
Saint-Henri: The patron saint of great nights out?
A short hop west is another of the famous Sud-Ouest neighborhoods, Saint-Henri. And if your group is in the mood for late-night cocktails or snacks, look no further than the Atwater Cocktail Club, an intimate lounge open until 3 am.
This spot is swanky and yet still cozy, located just north of Notre Dame on Atwater. Like many of the best places, it’s a little tough to find, but once you’ve discovered the door at the end of a nondescript alley, the knowledgeable staff will treat you right by mixing you a cocktail using only the highest-quality ingredients, housemade syrups and handpicked spirits.
Right next door (and much easier to find) is “Americanized French diner” Foiegwa. This imaginative eatery and bar is a mix of elegant and casual, and remains a great spot for late-night food and drink until 2 am. The word on the street is that you can order food from Foiegwa if you’re in the Atwater Cocktail Club, so if you’re up late and still hungry, try it out. They also serve an excellent brunch on weekends.
Another great spot is casually cool wine bar Loïc, a little further west along Notre-Dame Street. Known equally for its extensive wine list and delicious meals, it also serves up a healthy dose of dancing late on weekends. You won’t get a seat here without a reservation on Fridays or Saturdays, so call ahead.
In fact, Saint-Henri is full of well-established eateries, including offerings from Singaporean superstars Satay Brothers, who serve up steamed pork buns and a healthy dose of hip-hop, Tuck Shop, whose sophisticated menu never disappoints, world-famous trio Joe Beef, Liverpool House and Vin Papillon, restaurants with top-tier clientele and wait-lists that stretch into weeks, and Elena (also known as Coffee Pizza Wine), which offers an amazing array of wood-fired pizzas and natural wines to boot.
Indeed, the list goes on and on. With so many options in this neighbourhood, your best bet may simply be to take a walk along Notre-Dame until you find something that tickles your fancy.
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