An Insider’s Guide to Montreal’s Mile End Neighbourhood
Oui, this neighbourhood is trendy and boho, a hip hangout with an industrial, working-class past. Representing about 40 blocks, and bordered by iconic Montréal streets like Mont-Royal Avenue and Saint-Laurent Boulevard, it’s your spot for haute design, edgy art, and craft coffee.
Don’t miss these top things to eat, drink, see, buy, and do. But above all, take it easy. Slip into the Québécois joie de vivre and savour the moment.
Mile End is filled with artist collectives and eccentric characters. Ask a local about which to pop into — for example, the atelier of visual mixed media creative NADine Samuel, Art Hives, Red Bird Studios, or screen print master Chris Robertson’s workshop. You can also visit a more mainstream gallery like Galerie Simon Blais which showcases Québec headliners, or Galerie-Espace with rotating featured artists.
First, pick up a cream cheese bagel at one of two legendary bagel shops: St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel. Then, shop St-Viateur Street for everything you want, but don’t need: an artisan cappuccino at Café Olimpico, inventive women’s wear at Myco Anna from Québec designer Christiane Garant, colourful home design accents, and handcrafted furniture. Branch out to pick up a graphic novel at staple bookshop Drawn & Quarterly, browse vintage collectibles at Antiques Loft 9, and listen to a local act at Le Depanneur Café. You might find chatting with shopkeepers is as fun as the shopping itself.
Eat all day long
Try something new. Vegan is huge here, as you'll see at Soupe Soup (soup, obviously, and salad) or La Panthère Verte (falafel). Or for a sexy date night, sit at the bar of Hotel Herman, where food is art and you nibble on edible flowers. Québec star-chef Danny St-Pierre reigns at La Petite Maison, where in an inviting stone cottage he delivers sublime dishes critics call “ingenious simplicity.” Mile End is your destination for a Montréal food tour, where you can delve into the astonishing range of low-budget eats to cutting-edge fine dining.
Join a neighbourhood event
A community-run initiative set in the park at rue St-Dominique and Bernard, Le Marché de Possibles doubles as a summer events venue. Find out what’s on and join an arts and crafts market, residents’ barbecue, film screening, food truck meet up, or open-air biergarten. Stroll and people-watch or dine at a pop-up restaurant. You won’t be disappointed.
Stay up late
Sultry, Russian-themed Bar Datcha nightclub is perfect for late-night boogying on the smoky, DJ-directed dance floor. After dancing, go next door to sister Bar Kabinet for high-end homeland cocktails, like a Moscow Mule, in a pre-Revolution-inspired setting. If you stay up really late, Kabinet morphs into a coffeehouse by day. Na Zdorovie!
Play ping pong
Nosh on a mac ‘n cheese ball, milkshake, and alphabet soup, while challenging your partner to foosball, Jenga, or table tennis at Ping Pong Club, a restaurant-bar and Montréal’s first foray into the international ping pong craze. Even if you lose, take solace in one of the tasty Slurpee-style cocktails, served ironically in paper cups. If playing is not your bag, just chill at this cozy spot fans call Montréal at its best.
Get to know Mile End, but you might need to return just to eat your way through all of Montréal, a city known for culinary indulgence and bold experimentation.