Montreal has a reputation for decadence among gays in the northeastern US, but that's not exactly right. This is not a hedonistic capital like Rio or New Orleans. Rather, gay life here is very urban, in a pre-gentrification way. Montreal is what New York might have become if that city had found a way to lower crime without pricing the Village People out -- that is, if the Village People had all got iPhones and developed a fondness for hockey and karaoke.
The largest city in Quebec still has a large "gay ghetto," full of specialized bars that manage to stay in business even without overflow crowds and $12 drinks. There are a number of bathhouses competing for business, with theme nights and spanking-new equipment and several strip clubs catering to various tastes. Downtown, there are grand department stores and plenty of bookstores, both things that are quickly disappearing from major cities in the US.
Though everyone seems connected to the web here, the gay scene is not yet dominated by Craigslist and Grindr: it's still considered good form to chat guys up in a bar or on the street. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Montreal-Trudeau Airport, about 20 km (or 12 miles) southwest of the city, is not served directly by the Metro system, but the Montreal public transportation service provides route 204 bus service from the airport to downtown for $2.75. A shuttle bus runs between the airport and VIA's Dorval station. An STM bus (route 747) will take you every day of the week to downtown, all day and night.
A taxi to downtown costs a fixed fare of C$40. The Aerobus shuttle is an easy and inexpensive option at C$16. It leaves every half hour in the daytime and drops you off at the central bus station, which happens to be one block from the Gay Village. (Prices as of March 2015).
Rail service from New York City, Penn Station, is a scenic 9-hour trip along the Hudson River past Lake Champlain. See the Amtrak website for schedules and rates.
From Toronto there six daily trains, downtown to downtown, taking 4-5 hours, and four trains daily on the 2 hour run between Montreal and Ottawa. From Quebec City, a 3-hour trip, there are three daily options - also one train most days from the Atlantic provinces. See Via Rail for info on these and other routes throughout Canada.
For Coach/Bus services see the websites of Trailways and Greyhound for service from most major US and Canadian cities. Coach Canada covers most Canadian connections, plus Buffalo, NY to Montreal service by way of Toronto.
Central Montreal is quite walkable; a stroll from Campus in Le Village to La Baie department store downtown takes about 20 minutes. For street addresses, remember to distinguish between "Est" and "Ouest" on major thoroughfares.
The Metro is clean and reliable, and it operates until about 12:30am. Single fares are C$3; one day cards $8 and three days are $16. But one of the best ways to see montreal is by bike. Montreal has many bike paths throughout the city and along the river and canals.
The BIXI , Montreal's public bike-sharing system, has over 450 stations open from April through November with 24-hour access. An occasional membership allows quick and easy 24 hour access to the system for $5, charged to your credit card. The first 30 minutes of each trip is included, with additional fees for longer trips..
The Gay Village, or simply Le Village, is the obvious destination for gay travelers, but if in Montreal for more than a day, you should take advantage of the citywide gay-friendliness. Find the main strip in the Village along Ste-Catherine E, between Metro stations Berri-UQAm and Papineau.
Old Montreal. The riverfront district is undeniably touristy; still, it's a must-see for art gallery and architecture fans.
The Plateau, with Boulevard St-Laurent at its heart, has the most vibrant night/weekend scene in the city. There aren't so many specifically gay places, but there's plenty of eye candy on the streets. Mile End is the adjacent neighborhood, known for artists and the band Arcade Fire -- touted of late as a hotbed of creativity, but still retaining a refreshingly off-the-beaten-track feel. See our Xtra article on the district: A Dash of Gay and Hip.
Septentrion B & B in the Laurentians, is Quebec's only five-star gay inn. Les Chutes (waterfalls) de Ste- Marguerite du Lac Masson, are in Ste Adele nearby.
Tremblant is a ski resort in a park, 90 minutes north of the city. In the summertime the great expanses of waterways here are great for an odyssey by canoe.
For a night in Quebec City two hours from Montreal, Le Coureur des Bois (15rue Ste. Ursule) is a Franco-Canadian gem of a guesthouse at the heart of Vieux-Québec.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal (1379-1380 Sherbrooke W) is the grand dame of Canadian museums.
Museum of Contemporary Art / Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal (185 Ste-Catherine W) opposite Complexe Desjardins, has many exhibits of interest.
Notre-Dame Basilica (116 Notre-Dame) is a 350 year-old neo-gothic basilica where Celine Dion got married.
Pointe-a- Calliere (350 Place Royale) showcases archaeology and history in Old Montreal.
Biodome de Montreal (4777 Pierre-de- Coubertin) illustrates the continent's four ecosystems beneath the dome.
Media & Resources
The free monthly magazine Fugues is the best source for gay events and attractions in the city. Almost entirely in French, it has bar listings with English translations, and not-so-subtle ads. Read their online pdf editions cover-to-cover. They have a mobile site, and each May Fugues publishes a Rainbow Guide (Guide Arc en Ciel) - a gay-interest bilingual tour guide for the Montreal area.
2B Magazine is an English language magazine from the same publisher as the French-language RG Magazine --now also with an English language website. They also publish the excellent Le Guide GQ -downloadable as a pdf file - in both French and English.
Log on to the DailyXtra website for LGBT news, current events, commentary, travel articles, listings and more, for all of Canada and beyond.
GayRadioBec.com is Quebec's French-language gay internet radio service.
The Hour, a free weekly in English, has general arts info as well as alternative-press news. The Montréal Buzz blog has the insider scoop on arts, fashion, design and gastonomy, as well as a section of rainbow pages. It's hosted by Tourisme Montréal, another good online source of visitor information. They also have an online Queer Montreal travel guide.
The City of Montreal website has info on their many resources and attractions - including festivals, museums, the Planétarium, Botanical Garden, parks and libraries - plus sports and recreation facilities such as the 51 indoor, and 74 outdoor pools managed by the city.
Sign up for the male stripper show videos from Stock Bar, with live shows 8:30pm-2:30am Montréal time.
For locations and website links to businesses listed below, see our Montreal gay map & listings pages.
Abri du Voyageur Hotel (9 Ste-Catherine; 514-849- 2992) appeals to the budget-conscious traveler, also has efficiency suites.
Hotel Dorion (1477 Dorion; 514-523- 2427) convenient to Bar Taboo with overnight or short-term rooms, each with private bath, some with Jacuzzis and fridge.
Hotel Gouverneur (1415 St-Hubert; 514- 842-4881), large high-rise chain hotel with indoor pool, above the Place Dupuis shopping arcade.
Hotel St- Andre (1285 St-Andre; 514- 849-7070) hotel with modern decor, moderate prices, in-room continental breakfast, free parking.
Hotel Ste-Catherine (1674 Ste-Catherine; 514-527-4440), spacious and inexpensive basic rooms by the hour or the day at the heart of the Gay Village.
Accommodations: Bed & breakfasts
At these B&Bs, most hosts and guests are gay. Full breakfast is the norm. Find links and more options at our map & listings tab.
Alexandre Logan (1870) B & B (1631 Alexandre de Seve; 514- 598-0555), centrally sited prestigious house restored to original splendour, gourmet kitchen, tranquil garden with sundeck and shower.
Aubergell B&B (L'Un et L'Autre) (1641 Amherst; 514- 597-0878), affordable rates, cozy rooms, underfoot comfort with heated floors and plush carpets, semi-private & private bath.
BBV | Bed & Breakfast Du Village (1279 Montcalm; 514- 522-4771), great values, private baths, interior parking, engaging owners, in the heart of the gay village.
B&B Le Cartier (1219 Cartier; 514-917-1829), private studio suite-style, beautiful back garden, good prices, free parking, WiFi.
Escogriffe B & B (1264 Wolfe; 514-523-4800) elegant Gay Village guest house, full American breakfasts, affectionate cats and smart dog, rooftop terrace.
Le Chasseur (1567 St-Andre, 514-521-2238) relaxed and very affordable, shared or private bath by Baudry Metro station in Gay Village, also with private apartment.
La Conciergerie (1019 St-Hubert; 514-289-9297) indoor whirlpool, roof deck, gym, glass-enclosed breakfast nook overlooks garden, free Wi-Fi.
La Loggia (1637 Amherst; 514-524-2493) B&B/Gite with urban garden, includes workshop brimming with works of Canadian artists.
M Montreal Hostel (1245 St-Andre; 514-845-9803), all-new hostel and bar in former Hotel Manoir Des Alpes location. Breakfast, 24-hour common kitchen, WiFi, computer access, bar/lounge, cinema, live artists, bands and comedians.
Maison Des Jardins (1365 Logan) gay men only relaxed B&B at heart of Village. Generous breakfast, year-round outdoor spa and massage.
NuZone B&B (1729, rue Saint-Hubert; 514-524-5292), central, men-only, clothing-optional, comfortable.
Ruta Bagage (1345 Ste-Rose; 514-598-1586) grand Victorian on quiet street, huge windows, full breakfast, sunny terrace.
Sir Montcalm (1455 Montcalm; 514- 522-7747), urban chic decor, two and three-room suites with private bath, community room with fireplace where four-course breakfast is served, free gym passes.
Nightlife - bars, clubs, cabarets
Quebec men are not shy about their bodies, and Montreal has a long tradition of handsome guys entertaining others by stripping down to skin. The larger clubs feature between 15 to 40 dancers each night. Dancers begin sets slowly, casually dressed in street clothes, sometimes in fantasy costumes, to end up at finale, strutting aroused, in full priapic glory. Those who catch your fancy will provide private lap dances in secluded lounges, for a little extra cash.
Campus (1111 Ste-Catherine E), world-famous Montreal nightclub, muscle-buff guys strip down and show off for men every day 3pm-3am (except Sunday for women), with dimly lit VIP private section for one-to-one attention.
Le Lux (1681 Ste-Catherine E), old Adonis and JP's location, nude male strippers for men, friendly and casual, multiple dancer erotic shows, guest porn stars.
Stock (1171 Ste-Catherine E), nude male dancers of all kinds, shower shows, large VIP lounge, two backrooms, open seven nights. Wednesday women's night. See the website for dancer photos and sign-up for live feed of stage performances and "getting personal" sessions, from 8pm local time.
Taboo (1950 De Maisonneuve E), open nightly, nude male strippers; fresh, lithesome and energetic dancers. New management restored popularity after a rocky patch.
Bars: Leather, bears
Aigle Noir | Black Eagle (1315 Ste-Catherine E) leather, rubber, kink and fetish men's bar, pool table, intense murals.
Stud (1812, Ste-Catherine E) men-only bar favored by bears and leathermen but friendly to all guys. Dancing, wide music variety, theme nights, non-stop sex videos.
Cabaret Cleo (1230 St-Laurent) real-girl strippers at street level, and drag shows on the second floor.
Cabaret Mado (1115 Ste-Catherine E) the campiest drag shows in Montreal, seven nights a week.
Bar Rocky (1673 Ste-Catherine E), gay bar, older mix of guys, erotic male videos, karaoke.
Cabaret Playhose (5656 Av Du Parc), in hip/queer Platineau neighborhood, mixed alternative gay/straight men/women crowd, live indie/garage/punk/grrrl music, performances, Faggity Ass Fridays:: Femme Power.
Club Date (1218 Ste-Catherine E) popular piano and karaoke bar with diverse crowd.
Cocktail (1669 Ste-Catherine E) lounge & karaoke bar, amateurs and performers in drag, games.
Studio Backstage (1661 Ste-Catherine E), mixed crowd "artist hangout."
CLOSED: Le Drugstore (1360 Ste-Catherine E) large multi-level complex, women's favorite; Gotha (1641 Amherst) mixed gay/straight, Anglo/Francophone crowd; Royal Phoenix (5788 Boul St-Laurent).
Apollon (1450 Ste-Catherine E), new-concept Thursday through Saturday video/dance club on three big floors, at Village epicenter; good sound and lights, giant screen videos.
Circus (917, Ste-Catherine E) mixed 18-plus after-hours dance club, three rooms of house-urban-techno-trance music til the sun comes up.
Club Bolo (2093, rue de la Visitation), Friday and Sunday country music club, line dancing lessons, monthly Saturday special nights (closed the Sunday after).
Sky (1474 Ste-Catherine E), popular three-level dance complex, gay/straight, young/old; drag cabaret, pub, roof terrace with Jacuzzi and outdoor pool.
Stereo (858 Ste-Catherine E), mixed gay/straight after-hours dance club goes all night until noon the next morning, top-class DJs.
Unity (1171 Ste-Catherine E) city's largest gay dance club in three rooms, international DJs, mixed mix, live shows.
Circuit & special parties
Bad Boys Club Montreal series of circuit parties include: Hot & Dry; Twist Weekend; Black & Blue Weekend; Bal des Boys Weekend, and Red Weekend. See the website for dates.
Saunas + Sex Clubs
Bath house heaven, Montreal has more pleasure palaces than anywhere else in North America. Facilities usually include dry saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, massage rooms,labyrinths, porn lounges, snack bars, and towel-clad cruising. Reflex, a new Euro-style sex club, opened in early 2014 in the same block as the Apollon dance club.
Bain Colonial (963 Colonial), in the Plateau, old-fashioned style natural stone steam system, dry sauna, whirlpool, gym, massage, videos/TV, rooftop and garden terraces, private rooms, mature guys.
G.I. Joe Sauna (1166 Ste-Catherine E), leather and fetish men, private rooms, hot tub, snack bar, dry and wet saunas, kinky play scene.
Reflex (1456 Ste-Catherine E), European-style sex club for men with dark room, maze, glory holes, s&m playroom; open 4pm-6am.
Sauna 226 (243 Boul des Laurentides, Laval), sauna, video/TV lounge, glory holes, cabins and rooms, blackout area.
Sauna 1286 (1286, Chemin Chambly, Longueuil), three floors of rooms, open 24/7, cabins, suites, sauna/steam, whirlpool, parking available.
Sauna 3481 (3481 Montée St-Hubert), steam/sauna on Montreal south shore in Saint-Hubert (east of Longueuil), massage, Jacuzzi, cinema auditiorium, glory holes, sex toy sales, snack bar.
Sauna Centre-ville (1465 Ste-Catherine E), popular at Village center, two levels, open 24/7. 60 single or double rooms, deluxe suite, snack bar, internet. Dry sauna, steam, whirlpool. Under-30 age special rates and Bad Boy Club Montreal tie-ins.
Sauna Oasis (1390 Ste-Catherine E), very popular, 24/7 never closes dry and steam sauna in the Village. Porn movies, glory holes, private rooms, snack bar; Nude Mondays, Foam Thursdays.
Sauna St-Hubert (6527 St-Hubert) small alternative sauna, gay, bi and trans mixed ages/ mostly mature guys, open 24-hours on weekends, naked nights, uninhibited play scene, sling and glory holes, popular "lingerie Tuesdays."
Many of the following places are popular for dejuner (breakfast), diner (lunch) and souper (supper). In Montreal it is customary to provide separate bills for each person, but waiters will generally ask first.
1000 Grams (1495 Ste-Catherine E) former Kilo Cafe, longtime Village favorite bistro with iconic funny faces out front, terrace, sandwiches of all kinds, cakes galore; fruity drinks and ice cream frappes, beer and wine.
Bato Thai (1310 Ste-Catherine E) good Thai, large portions, easy on the wallet.
Cafe/Bar at La Cinémathèque québécoise (335, De Maisonneuve E), bistro-style meals, gourmet coffees, terrace seating, film screenings, multimedia experimental works, works of both young and accomplished artists, GLBT meetingplace.
Cafe Depot (1800 Ste-Catherine E) central, late-night coffees, teas, chocolate, croissants, brownies, muffins, bagels and sandwiches; free WiFi.
Chez Cora Dejeuner (1017 Ste-Catherine E) fabulous breakfast, fruit bowl.
Club Sandwich (1570 Ste-Catherine E) over 60 different sandwiches, tasty breakfast, poutine (gravy on french fries and cheese -- local staple).
Greasy Spoon (160 Av Laurier O), Le Plateau cozy winter dining, summer terrace, eclectic market menu, appetizers, plates and bowls, sandwiches, oysters; good wine selection.
La Colombe (554 Av Duluth E), old favorite, casual but fine dining, French menu, game meats, bring your own wine.
Liquid Nutrition (1303 Ste-Catherine E) smoothies, healthy snacks.
Le Milsa (1560 Ste-Catherine E), Brazilian-style Churrasco, charcoal-grilled meats, as much as you can eat, wine selection and bar.
Le Planete (1451 Ste-Catherine E) global cuisine, sandwiches, brunch, exotic cocktails like Up Uranus and I'm Your Venus.
Resto du Village (1310 Wolfe) cozy 24-hour gay restaurant, poutine, pudding Chomeur, big portions, reasonable prices.
Resto Végo (1720 St-Denis and 1204 McGill College St) gourmet veggie and vegan buffets; sandwich wraps, soups, salads, deserts, gluten-free options.
Saloon (1333, Ste-Catherine E) gay restaurant, Western theme, salad, pizza, grilled meats and fish.
Second Cup (1351 Ste-Catherine E) nationwide coffeehouse chain, tea, lots of eye contact Village locale.
Soupe Soup (1228 rue St-Denis), soups, salads, sandwiches, deserts, coffees and beverages.
Starbucks (1301 Ste-Catherine E) for a caffeinated buzz, sandwiches, cake and muffins; WiFi
Strega (1477 Ste-Catherine E) pasta heaven, rave reviews, good prices, pleasant atmosphere.
Tabla Restaurant (1329 Ste-Catherine E) Bangladeshi-Indian fare, vegetarian, meat and seafood.
Shopping & Services
Dollarama (911 Ste-Catherine E) bargains for a buck.
Fetiche Armada (1201 Ste-Catherine E), leather, rubber, underwear, sports gear, toys, Mr B products, sex shop.
Physotech Plus (1657 Amherst) exclusively male. Massage, hair styling,tanning, skin care, laser hair removal.
Priape (1311 Ste-Catherine E), casual clothing, underwear, beachwear, leather gear, toys, video DVDs, books, magazines. Montreal store re-opened, 3 others did not. Priape.com website still in operation.
Wega Complex (930 Ste-Catherine E) the porn place, with peep shows, movies,merchandise.