Europe’s last Foothold on the Big Island Called North America: Where To Party During Grand Prix Montreal

Have you seen The Score? If not, don’t worry – I won’t be giving away much away. (I mean it; I’m a fanatic about movies, and I really don’t want to ruin this so-so flick for anyone). Well, this movie claims to take place in Montreal… But if you come up here, don’t expect to…

Have you seen The Score? If not, don’t worry – I won’t be giving away much away. (I mean it; I’m a fanatic about movies, and I really don’t want to ruin this so-so flick for anyone). Well, this movie claims to take place in Montreal… But if you come up here, don’t expect to see the Montreal detailed in The Score. That movie displayed a Montreal of cobblestone roads, where every single inhabitant of the city spoke French. Well, seeing as the Grand Prix is in Old Mo (Old Montreal, for you people not from here), you will see cobblestone roads – but if y’all head out past this section of Montreal, to, say, downtown, there will be no cobblestone roads. So don’t expect any.

As for the French language thing, yeah, about half of the people speak French (although rare is the inhabitant of Montreal who doesn’t speak at least some English) – but don’t worry, because the other half speak English, so you won’t be surrounded by a cacophony of foreign voices at all times.

A caveat about how you speak of the French language here in Montreal: It has occurred at Montreal PTQs in the past that Americans have come up here and made derogatory statements regarding the French people, or the French language as spoken here in Quebec. Don’t. Don’t talk about the people here in a derogatory manner, and don’t make cracks about our language – we won’t find it funny, and at the least you’ll offend us, at the worst… Well, we have hicks and white trash here as well.

I know all that kinda’ took some of the romance out of visiting Montreal, but there are pros to this place.

Pro #1: The legal drinking age in Montreal is eighteen. I can’t tell you how many eighteen-year olds make their way up from the states every weekend just to experience this.

So naturally, of course, everyone will want to know where to drink, and the answer to that question depends on what yer lookin’ for.

Montreal’s Best English Hole:

If you like holes, this is probably our best one (for the English crowd, there is a different hole for the French crowd). Of course, I’m giving you the tame holes – I’m not giving you the out-of-the-way places filled with locals. It’s called Mad Hatters, and it’s located on the corner of De Maisoneuve and De La Montagne. Back when I used to drink, I used to spend two or three nights a week here, but I think there’s only one employee left there who I still know.

Montreal’s Best French Hole:

For those of you who want to see some French youth, you can try Foufs (or Foufounes Electriques), located at 87 Ste-Catherine East. I, personally, am not a big fan of this place… But that’s just my paranoia speaking because I don’t like being around a lot of drunk, potentially rowdy, French people (as an Anglo, they view me as other).

Where To Go To Pick Up:

Never been here, but I have it on good authority that people go to this bar to pick up – and that bar is the Sir Winston Churchill Pub, located at 1455 Crescent. Now, remember that street name, because on that block you will find about a half dozen bars, and a lot of people looking to party. Montreal women are some of the finest you will ever see, and it is certainly feasible to score while you are in town. Montreal is driven by appearance, and women in this city definitely go the extra mile to look good.

Montreal, like all cities, has plenty of bars and clubs, but Crescent street and the two holes mentioned above should suffice for now.

Pro #2: For those who like strip clubs, touching is legal here, and we define lap dances (wow, I hope The Ferrett doesn’t read this, or this whole section will just get edited away).

(La la la – use your imagination as to how those crazy Canadians define lap dances – But feel free to email Christopher for information! – The Ferrett)

Pro #3: We have our own Casino. It’s located on Ile-Notre-Dame, and your best bet is to take a taxi, as I’m not sure how parking works (although word on the street is there is some kind of underground parking available), and the shuttle leaves from 1001 Dorchester Square, but you’ll have to call (514) 392-2746 to find out the hours. The casino is open 24 hours a day, and they will be happy to take your money 24 hours a day. My brother used to work there, so I know too many stories to actually head out there with intentions of gambling. (Don’t worry, I’m sure this is common at all 24-hour casinos – stories of people who”know” their machine is about to pay out, so they won’t leave it, and instead will choose to defecate, or urinate, on their seat, or the people who don’t leave, or shower, for days (of course, as Magic players, we’re all pretty much used to that)).

For those who are interested in cleaner entertainment (like myself; Lord knows I don’t drink, go to strip bars, or gamble at the casino), there is a hockey game Saturday night, New Jersey vs. Montreal, at 7 p.m. No doubt scalpers will be willing to sell you some tickets.

Ummm… I’m sure there are other things to do in Montreal. I know we have some museums (like the Musee de Beaux-Arts located at 1379 Sherbrooke West), and Old Mo is a tourist attraction itself (although I do not suggest that anyone eat anything other than fast food in Old Mo, as all the prices are inflated and the serving sizes are pitiful). If you want to do some shopping the Eaton Center (located at 705 Ste-Catherine West, just opposite Super Sexe, or just get off at the McGill metro stop) is a great place to start, as it’s connected underground to six other malls.

As for food, I have no real recommendations, as I’m not a big fan of the restaurants in Montreal. For Mexican, try Mexicala Rosa’s, located at Bishop and Ste-Catherine; for cheap Chinese eats, try Noodle Express, located on De Maisonneuve between Guy and Mackay, or for options (or if its simply too late to try somewhere else, try the”open ’til 2 a.m.” Movenpick located in Place Ville Marie), but I do suggest that if you’ve never had a poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds), that you head on over to your closest La Belle Province and order a poutine. Do not, under any circumstances, order a poutine from a classical fast food establishment, like McDonald’s or Burger King. Also, for fans of Smoked Meat, who have heard of the legendary Montreal Smoked Meat (Isn’t that near the pickup bars? – The Ferrett), I recommend Shwartz’s, located at 3895 St-Laurent.

And the last activity that I recommend is a walk through Mount Royal, the hill for which our city is named. How do you get to Mount Royal? Either take the 11 from Mont-Royal metro, or walk up Peel to Pine, or up park to Rachel.

So there you have it – my guide to what to do in Montreal during the Grand Prix weekend. Oh wait, I almost forgot – there’s a Magic tournament as well.

And with that, I present another word of warning: Montreal players, and I don’t know if we’re any worse than other cities, seems to have its significant share of Pro Playa wannabes who will stop at very little to win the match. They will cross the line – in fact, just last week two players were DQed from a Grand Prix Trial for Bribery. Now in defense of one of them, he is twelve years old, so it may have been a lack of knowledge on his part (although I think he made Canadian Nationals last year, so he really ought to know better), but one knew the rules perfectly well, and then he compounded his cheating by lying to the judge about it.

They will try to cheat you out of wins, they will misrepresent cards on purpose. Shuffle all decks, and play fair. But most importantly, have fun.

christopher hearns

there are no victims