A Fun Girls Weekend in Montreal

My best friend lives in Montreal and I always use her birthday as an excuse to visit this beautiful city. Over the past couple years I have visited a bunch and accumulated a list of some of my favorite things to do. I decided to record what we did this weekend and recommend some other local favorites!

Friday

This time my train got in quite late so I just headed straight to my friend’s apartment but in the past we would have met for a later dinner or drinks.

I have had many a good time in Le Distillerie with bright coloured drinks in mason jars and I have always wanted to check out Big in Japan Bar for a fun bar close to downtown

For a splashy dinner try Joe Beef or one of their derivatives, and for a fun pizza dinner with good drinks and a terrace Bevo is always a good call.

 

Saturday
 

We woke nice and early Saturday to make use of the beautiful day ahead of us. We started by heading up the Little Italy and the Jean Talon market. I would recommend getting the 24 transit pass, it is only $10 and gets you all across the city.

 

 

We poked around the market for awhile, buying some strawberries and other snacks. It was still a little cold and rainy so there weren’t any outside vendors but the inside was still quite happening. For the full market experience, come in the summer when it is in full swing.
After the market we took the bus to St. Viateur in Mile End for their famous bagels. There are two mainstays in the world of Montreal bagels- St. Viateur’s and Fairmount. Every Montrealer has a favorite and is dead set that their’s is the best. My friend is team Viateur so that is where we went but honestly why not make a competition out of it and go to both? There is no such thing as too many carbs.

 

 

The area around St. Viateur’s is known as the Jewish area of Montreal as it houses most of the synagogues and Jewish restaurants. It is a super cool area, just be careful to check the openings of other stores in the area you want to check out on a Saturday as it is the Sabbath. Both bagel shops are open on Saturdays.

After getting bagels we walked over to Rue St. Laurent to pop in and out all the cute boutiques this area is known for. We wanted to buy everything, there were so many amazing clothing and interior boutiques. Our favorite was Boutique Vestibule but pretty much every store is worth going into.

 

 

After a good deal more wondering ( and munching on bagels as we walked) we decided it was time to sit down so we stopped into Darling, an adorable cafe/restaurant. The restaurant is full of greenery and a good mix of students studying with coffees and large groups of friends catching up over wine and food. This felt very Parisian to me, equal amounts of coffee and wine ( and frites!). We settled for a rose cidre.

 

 

Once we felt sufficiently relaxed we set off for our next stop: Old Montreal! We came down to specifically go to this new cafe Crew, which is a cafe/shared working space housed in a beautiful old bank building. We both had a bit of work to do and figured this beautiful setting was the best place to do it.

If you haven’t been to the Basilica, you should do this while in the area. It is absolutely stunning!

 

For dinner we had a reservation as Escondite, a fun Mexican restaurant with good food and electric decor. This place was so so good! My drink, Le Paloma was amazing, the design is so cute ( old posters and newspaper all over the walls, bright blue tiles) and the food incredible. We got guacamole ( their chips are huge and freshly fried!), the honey BBQ ribs, baja fish tacos and the pork belly tacos which had pineapple in them! The perfect meal for a fun girls weekend! I would recommend making a reservation here as it does get busy.

After dinner we headed around the corner ( we went to the Escondite on Drummond) to the famous Cloakroom bar. The Cloakroom is a speakeasy style bar, you enter through a nondescript door on the street and then have to push a secret door ( the part of the wall with the mirror) to get into the actual bar.  This bar is small ( like seats 10-12 people small) so make sure to get here early and don’t come with a large group. The Cloakroom is everything I like in a bar: amazing service, a great playlist, an intimate but chatty environment and delicious drinks! This bar doesn’t have a menu but instead you tell the bartender your preferences and they dream something up for you. You can also order the classics but it is way more fun to be surprised with something new. I request a fresh gin drink and was given a London Calling which was perfectly sweet and bitter and fresh like rain. My friend asked for something like a Pimm’s Cup and was given a gin/aperol drink with bright cucumber notes. Two delicious and very original drinks.

 

As amazing as the Cloakroom is the drinks do add up ( $16 each) so we headed to the Sir Winston Churchill pub on Rue Crescent. This is a great place casual drinks with friends while still having that slightly rowdy atmosphere this neighborhood of Montreal is known for. After awhile some of my friend’s schoolmates joined us and we headed up the street to Bar K Karaoke. This is a popular Karaoke bar that has private rooms, drinks and tons of songs ( in English, French and Korean). We had reserved a room for one hour but ended up staying for two after having so much fun. My friend and all her friends study music at McGill so I felt very under-talented but had a total blast! If you like karaoke but prefer the communal/performance style  you can check out one of the many karaoke bars in the city.

And because the fun never stops in this city we continued our night at Foonzo, a dive bar with super cheap drinks, old arcade games and tons of board games.

 

Sunday
In full disclosure, this time we were too hungover to really do anything this morning ( honestly a valid side effect of having fun in Montreal) so we stayed in and made dumplings for brunch.
But I have had my fair share of amazing Sundays in Montreal so let me recommend a couple options:
Old Port
If you didn’t have time yesterday to go to Old Montreal grab brunch at Tommy or Olive et Gourmando and spend the rest of your day exploring this area. If you are up for it you can even attend Mass at the Basilica!
Brunch and Art
If you want something else grab brunch a Universel in downtown or Faberge in Mile End and then head to one of the amazing art galleries in the city.
A Floating Spa

One of my other favorite things to do in Montreal is go to Bota Bota, a Scandinavian style spa on the river.

 

The Mountain

The walk up Mont Royal is must do in Montreal when the weather is nice. The walk to the top is pretty easy and the view is incredible. Bring a picnic and make a full excrusion out of it.

Hope you take the time to enjoy this beautiful city!

xoxo

 

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