Notre Dame des Quilles
“Our Lady of the Bowling Pins” is an LGBTQ-friendly enclave on an up-and-coming strip in La Petite-Patrie. What sets it apart from other bars? Free bowling. Grab a cheaply priced pint of Montreal-made St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and a bowling ball, and join some fellow revellers at the tiny lanes for a quick game. The clientele is a mix of queers and allies drawn mostly from the designers, DJs and other artists who live in nearby Mile End, Mile-Ex and Rosemont. Regular karaoke and bingo nights tend to bring in the biggest crowds.
• 32, rue Beaubien E., 514-507-1313, Facebook
Owned by a former member of Montreal rock group Lesbians on Ecstasy, Alexandraplatz hosts a barbecue for the Mile-Ex queer crowd every Sunday. The massive asphalt terrace and adjacent parking lot at this brewery-cum-bar are filled to capacity with twenty- and thirtysomethings in cut-offs and T-shirts, hot dogs in one hand and expertly made dark and stormys in the other.
• 6731, av. de l’Esplanade, Facebook; Sundays only
This cozy snack bar and pub stays open until 3 a.m. to serve Montreal’s Sud-Ouest dwellers high-voltage cocktails, like the Lucky Sangria – a sharp-sweet elixir of sake, peach vodka, white cranberry juice, ginger ale, orange wedges and fresh blackberries. Nights here are rowdy with a mixed crowd, but we recommend you pop by Grenade for pre-drinks, dinner or weekend brunch on your way over to the Pride festivities on Sainte-Catherine Street. Hunker down for the duck wings – they come dripping with honey, lemongrass and ginger – on the long patio, which offers alfresco dining with your choice of shade and sunshine.
• 160, rue Ontario E., 514-525-4251, Facebook
10th Annual Montreal Roller Derby Championship
Diehard roller derby fans and neophytes in search of thrills should swing by Aréna Saint-Louis to catch the league’s yearly showdown. Settle in next to the track with a beer and watch as two Montreal teams face off in a sport that’s as intense as it is entertaining. If you want to get in on the game or join the annual training camp, you can sign up at the arena. Tickets are available here.
• 5633, rue Saint-Dominique, 514-872-2062, mtlrollerderby.com; August 13 at 6 p.m.
We don’t know if the adorable hostess in the b-ball tank is actually playing for our team, but who cares? Beautiful people of all stripes perch at the bar or pack the tables in this gay-friendly Haitian joint just past the edge of the Village. The converted house and backyard can barely contain the party, which just might include co-owner Win Butler of Montreal’s Arcade Fire, who we spotted the night we dropped in for whole fried fish and classic accras. The Ti Ponch is DIY, complete with namesake agricole rum, cane syrup and a bucket of ice. Or, just order the Zanana cocktail, a fishbowl of coconut elixir with two straws for sharing.
• 1844, rue Amherst, agrikol.ca
No one appreciates summertime like Montrealers, and the city’s public outdoor pools are wildly popular. The one in Parc Baldwin, though not designated gay, is the insider destination for queer men and women (but mostly men) on any sunny day in July or August. The place is bare-bones – changing room, poured concrete decks, cool water, diving boards – but shaded by lush trees and filled with Speedo-clad sunseekers. Bring a towel, sunscreen and a suspense novel, and stake a claim in the gay zone near the deep end of the pool.
• 2330, rue Rachel E., 514-872-3533, Facebook
A bumping throng of outrageously dressed dancers welcomes newcomers to this monthly groove, put on by some of Montreal’s most notorious party organizers. The Gay Pride edition promises to be the biggest of the year, with a large venue and a solid DJ lineup, including Sandy Duperval, Pat Boogie and Shaydakiss. Tickets available here.
• Théâtre Berri, 1280, rue Saint-Denis, Facebook