Since arriving in September I’ve tried to frequent different places and events in order to meet friends, and more importantly to enjoy myself. Montreal is a city that revolves around nightlife, so it hasn’t been hard to find an abundance of options. I’ve found my way to dance clubs, concert venues, dives, upscale bars, after hours clubs and even some questionable house parties. Most times I visited these places in hope of exploring my new surroundings, rather than to get as belligerent as my Canadian hosts.
Like many things here, the nightlife scene differs from that in America. For the most part partying is partying, but the differences are still noticeable. One major difference is that the legal drinking age in Canada is 18. Many of you reading this can probably agree you were a bit more reckless at 18, so just imagine if you had unlimited access to alcohol legally at that age. Even more interesting than legal 18 year olds, are the ones even younger with fake IDs. Just as many college freshman obtain fake IDs multiple years prior to their legal drinking age, Montreal teens regularly do the same. This means that it’s common to see middle schoolers at the bar or club. That being said, certain areas such as the commercialized Saint Laurent and Saint Denis streets attract larger quantities of teenagers, so anyone looking for a more mature time can steer clear of these areas.
I’m a big fan of live music, so I’ve geared many of my nighttime escapades towards music events. One favorite concert of mine was seeing Canadian born R&B singer, PARTYNEXTDOOR, perform at the famed Le Belmont. Aside from the $14 drinks, both the venue and performance were amazing. I prefer small venues over big ones or stadiums, so I loved that being a relatively known artist he still chose to preform in one of Montreal’s smaller venues. I didn’t arrive necessarily early, but was still able to get a great spot in the middle. Once I got situated though, the venue quickly began filling up. Even though he didn’t go on for nearly an hour, I was able to avoid a bathroom break and hold my position. Man, was it worth it! PARTYNEXTDOOR played a great set, performing nearly every song he’s put out. He finished off his performance with one of his most popular songs “Recognize”, where he nearly caused a riot by bringing Canadian legend, Drake, out to perform his verse.
Other smaller venues also provide a great time for a fraction of the cost. One venue I’ve enjoyed visiting on a few occasions is Cabaret Underworld. I first went there to see small-time Florida rapper, Denzel Curry, perform. He put on a great show with tons of energy, and it ended up being one of my best nights out since arriving here. Based off my great first experience, I decided to visit Underworld again on one of the (many) nights of Halloween. The drinks were reasonably priced, and an eclectic mix of music proved for a great time I wouldn’t normally have.
Another enjoyable type of venue, that really isn’t even a venue at all, are the houses turned after hours clubs. These are grimy, beat up old houses, comparable to some near Drexel’s campus, that have had nearly everything removed except select furniture. Once last call hits at 2 am, many people in Montreal head to these venues to keep the party going. This obviously makes these places a bit on the sketchier side, so I always kept my wits about me and didn’t partake in other’s “offerings” while there. However, any negatives aside, the music and raw energy at these after hours houses are amazing and incomparable to anywhere else I’ve ever been. Everyone always seems to either know each other, or are willing to get know each other, so at no time have I seen any displays of violence. In my opinion, it would be great to see places open up like this in America, as long as the same carefree atmosphere can be achieved in a more regulated environment.