Guide to Montreal’s Gay Village in Time for Pride

17 07 2018

Our correspondent, Barry Hoy, left (and his partner) in Montreal's Gay VillageWe all know Montreal has a reputation for being a place of acceptance and inclusion, especially in Montreal’s Gay Village, which is is just east of downtown around Beaudry Metro station, running along Saint Catherine Street. Montreal’s Gay Village is where most of this year’s Pride activities will happen. Whether you are visiting for the parties or shows, you still need to know the best spots to get yummy cocktails and, of course, where to fill up. We got your covered! Here are the village’s top bars and restaurants:

Top bars in Montreal's Gay VillageTop 5 bars in Montreal’s Gay Village

Sky Complex – This is the city’s most popular gay club/bar and it has several spaces, from a dance clue to a male strip bar, to a cabaret. The rooftop terrace is also amazing.

Bar Renard – This sexy cocktail bar and lounge has a great selection of spirits and happy hour.

Bar Aigle Noir – Traditionally, the Black Eagle bar for the leather enthusiast. The crowd is now getting more diverse serving up beer and drinks in a classic setup with guest DJs and a buzzy patio.

Stock Bar – One of the more popular male strip bars in Montreal where you can grab a drink and watch hot buff men dance around you!

Le Stud – Le Stud is more of a dive bar with cheap drinks and great happy hour.

Our correspondent, Barry Hoy in Montreal's Gay VillageTop 5 restaurants in Montreal’s Gay Village

O’Thym – Asophisticated French bistro that uses seasonal ingredients and has a relaxed, yet cute ambiance. You can also BYOB!

Saloon – This campy restaurant has a great outdoor terrace so that you can people watch. They also serve amazing martinis!

Kitchenette – Located just outside the village, in case you want to escape for a more intimate dining experience. They offer a great 5 course tasting menu where you choose 2 starters, 2 main dishes, and a shared dessert!

Bato Thai – A casual BYOB setting with the best Thai food in the area. This is a great place for a quick bite if you want something yummy but not too formal.

Le Red Tiger – Le Red Tiger offers Vietnamese affordable street food that is both delicious and unique. Portions are small but shareable, so order at least a few items per person.

Add a few, or all, of these spots to your list and you are bound to have an amazing trip. For more things to do and places to visit in Montreal, stop by www.asianmapleleaf.com

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CheckOut: Hotel X, Toronto

6 06 2018

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe brand-new, stylistically-striking Hotel X Toronto in Toronto, Canada is anything but yet another cookie-cutter urban luxury hotel crammed into a downtown lot. Hotel X Toronto is a very short taxi/Uber/Lyft ride from everything that Toronto has to offer; making it an ideal headquarters for enjoying Pride Toronto or any other event in Canada’s largest city. Story by ManAboutWorld correspondent, James Careless.

Amenities

Worth noting: The 404-room, 30-storey Hotel X Toronto is likely correct in claiming that it offers “a wealth of amenities unrivalled by any downtown hotel, including four indoor tennis courts, a full-service spa, two year-round heated swimming pools and TEN X TORONTO—a 90,000 square foot athletic centre with its own children’s area.” In addition to its restaurants (with options for vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan diets), Hotel X Toronto has an art gallery, beer garden, stadium-style movie theaters, event spaces, historical exhibits, and the three-storey rooftop SkyBar with – again – unparalleled views of downtown Toronto and the lake. The multi-story ‘living wall’ at the Front Desk – literally a vertical surface of plants rising high above one’s head – is impressive in its own right.

Rates

Hotel X Toronto is currently in what is known as a ‘soft opening’ until the end of July 2018, when it will officially open. This means that the hotel is still in the process of getting everything running – and giving guests price breaks as a result of it. (Note: Everything I experienced while there gave me the feeling that the hotel was fully operational.)

The good news: “During the soft opening period of Hotel X Toronto, you will find rates reduced as much as 30%,” said Celso Thompson, the hotel’s director of Sales and Marketing. “At any time, the hotel offers a prepaid, non-refundable option which clearly is the best deal if you are certain about your travel plans. Rates start at $350 for the entry level rooms.”

The bad news: You’ll have to go through Hotel X Toronto’s booking sites to get actual prices. Still, 30% is 30% off – and that is on top of the US dollar being worth about $1.20-$1.25 Canadian.

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Location

Located at spacious Exhibition Place (home of the Canadian National Exhibition – CNE — every summer, and various Class A events and conventions year-round), Hotel X Toronto is right on the shore of Lake Ontario. It is far enough from the downtown core to have a clear, unobstructed view of the lake, the nearby Toronto Island with its parks and airport, and Toronto’s major buildings; plus the lakeshore’s Ontario Place and the 1840s-era stone Stanley Barracks at Fort York.

Having grown in Toronto and spent many summers at the CNE in all its gaudy midway glory, I could never have imagined a true luxury hotel being located on the fair grounds. But much has changed at Exhibition Place. New convention/display buildings have been added (like the Enercare Centre) and older spaces renovated, while the rundown Exhibition Place grandstand has been replaced by the modern BMO Field (home of the Toronto FC pro soccer team). The historic Stanley Barracks next door has been restored and softened with the addition of gardens.

Add the fact that Hotel X Toronto is right on Lake Ontario, yet so close to the downtown hub (transit is available, in addition to taxis and walking), and this hotel combines the best of open waterfront breeziness with downtown urban access. It is a welcome alternative to the very best downtown cor hotels that are crammed together, through no fault of their own. (Runners will particularly like the quick access to the lakeshore and its open spaces, rather than being confined to car-packed downtown sidewalks.)

Room/Bathroom

I was fortunate to stay in a corner suite, on the 18th floor of Hotel X Toronto. I walked into an entrance hallway that angled left to the spacious modern bathroom (including a glass-walled shower with space for more than one), then turned right into a truly roomy bedroom with floor-to-ceiling full glass windows on two side.

The view alone from this suite justifies the price of admission. It is one of the best that I have seen in Toronto’s many downtown hotels. But the quality of Hotel X Toronto’s modern furniture and appointments is also worth mentioning: The wood, metal, leather and fabric far are above the usual hotel fare. They and the room’s fabric walls make you feel like you are staying in someone’s elegantly-decorated high-end condo; rather than yet another unsuccessfully pretentious hotel.

I was also struck by the bathroom’s elegant fittings, and the little details that were tended to; such as having two bathrobes and slippers available rather than just one. The room service was also a treat: What a luxury to have smoked salmon Eggs Benedict delivered to one’s room for breakfast!

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay Factor

If ‘Gay Factor’ translates into superb modern design with no false flash, elegance and quality in all things, and the sense that staying here somehow raises one’s game and sense of self, Hotel X Toronto has tremendous Gay Factor. That said, what I have just said applies to anyone, regardless of gender or orientation – as long as they have class, style, and a sense of how to comport themselves in public.

Meanwhile, Hotel X Toronto is a quick taxi/transit ride to everything in downtown Toronto; be it the city’s famous Gay Village, the Rogers Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club), the Theatre District, the business core, shopping, or the Toronto Island (accessible by an underground tunnel at the nearby Island Airport, or a short ferry ride across the harbor; well worth it).

About the Checkout

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.





The Gay Montreal Hot List

1 09 2017

Arsenal Antonio Roberts in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe renaissance of Griffintown and Little Burgundy, along the Lachine Canal, is in full swing. Trendy stores and restaurants have been opening and luxury condos are rising on the shores of the canal, as the city tries to retain the neighborhood’s industrial “charm” while accommodating the gentrification resulting from Montreal’s influx of tech/AI companies.

For visitors, these neighborhoods offer a uniquely local and culturally diverse experience. Airbnb is currently the only accommodation option here, though these neighborhoods are easy to visit from downtown. Wherever you stay, it’s worth spending at least a half-day to explore Montreal’s new hot neighborhoods.

HERE ARE OUR GAY MONTREAL TRAVEL TIPS

1. ATWATER MARKET

This bustling farmers’ market is busy year round, though especially in the summer, when the parking lot overflows with fresh produce. Don’t miss Chocolats Privilège for their decadent sweets (the chocolate covered marshmallows are a favorite), and the Première Moisson bakery inside.

2. JUNIOR

Filipino cuisine may not have the pedigree or popularity of its Asian brethren, but a visit to Junior will leave you wondering why. Influenced by Malaysian, Chinese and Spanish cuisine, Filipino dishes mix sweet, salty and sour in gratifying ways. Opened by two local brothers and well-known DJs, Junior’s serves up traditional Filipino dishes during the week, and a Filipino-fusion brunch on the weekends.

3. BOUCHERIE GRINDER

If Anna Wintour opened a butcher shop, it would look like Grinder. This tip-to-tail butchery displays meat like jewelry, hung in refrigerated display cases along the shop windows. It’s worth a trip just to see it, though you can sample their meats at their restaurant of the same name just down the block.

4. ARSENAL

With 50,000 square feet of exhibition space in a former 19th-century shipyard, Arsenal is the largest private art center in Canada, and the heart of Montreal’s contemporary art scene. (See photo above; credit: Antonio Roberts.)

Le Petit Navare in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine5. LE CAFÉ BLOOM

A little off the beaten path in the Point St. Charles neighborhood, this is our favorite brunch spot. With a handsome crowd and a menu of updated, stylish comfort food. Be sure to try the spruce soda — a refreshing bubbly Christmas in a bottle.

6. BIXI

Montreal’s shared bike system is great for exploring Griffintown and Little Burgundy, with lots of docking stations to pick up/drop off a bike. Enjoy the bike paths all along the Lachine Canal, into downtown and the Old Port and around town.

7. MIXXAUTHENTIK

You’ll find a range of antique stores in Little Burgundy, MixxAuthentik skews more towards mid-century modern, and the swinging ‘60s-’80s.

8. STOCKMARKT BOUTIQUE

International designer clothes at deep discounts, in a stylish boutique that doesn’t feel like you typical off-price retailer.

9. CODE AMBIANCE

The bars in Little Burgundy and Griffintown are mostly of the pub variety, but Code Ambiance wine bar takes it up a notch with a satisfying selection of wines by the glass, and sophisticated cocktails in a chic atmosphere. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

10. LE PETIT NAVIRE

From early July through Late August, this electrically-powered boat does a daily round-trip from the Old Port (10:30am departure) to Atwater Market and back (1:00 pm departure) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; 105 minutes each way. You’ll learn about the 150-year history of the canal, enjoy the waterfront scenery, and pass through three locks.

To read the article and many more in the current issue of ManAboutWorld, the leading app-based gay travel magazine, head over to the App Store or Google Play.





Gay Travel Update From Around the World

19 01 2016
Centro Cultural Kirchner, Buenos Aires, ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine; gay travel update

Centro Cultural Kirchner

ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine keeps you up to date on gay travel options in major global cities. ManAboutWorld’s travelin correspondents stay on top of hip things to do in a score or two of our favorite cities. Here’s their latest gay travel update.

VENICE, ITALY
In the past several years, the very gay-friendly Caffe Centrale has benefited from significant upgrades. The eccentric and modern space feels more elegant and sexy. The service is friendlier and the food, which was wonderful to begin with, is even more scrumptious. Be sure to try the beef tenderloin in Amarone wine sauce or maybe the Catalana of crustaceans (salad of grilled shellfish), but definitely order their mojito in the pot, for dessert. It’s Venice, so you can even have a gondola drop you off, or pick you up, from their canal-side dock. Now how romantic is that? — Arthur Wooten

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
If you’re in BA, check out the fabulous new Kirchner Cultural Centerwhich has already been welcoming approximately 10,000 patrons a day who walk around an ornate, turn-of-the-last-century building that has been converted into what promoters claim is the fourth-largest cultural center in the world. Best of all, everything in it is free, from video installations to comedy acts to symphony concerts and contemporary musical acts. — Pablo DeLuca (see above)

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
The Godfrey Hotel Boston is scheduled to open early January 2016 in Boston’s much improved Downtown Crossing district, which was the primary retail area of Boston a century ago then went into a decline towards the end of the 20th century. With its central location between Boston Common and the financial district, Downtown Crossing is re-emerging with trendy new residential and commercial buildings. The hotel, situated in a gorgeously renovated building, will offer luxurious accommodations in the center of the city as well as complimentary high-speed WiFi and other perks. — Kenny Porpora

BANGKOK, THAILAND
The Accor-managed Pullman Bangkok Hotel G provides a nice option for gay travelers thanks in part to its location at Silom 188, just a few blocks away from all the action. The hotel was recently remodeled and includes an excellent breakfast. The gym could use an update, but it is sufficient. The hotel may remind you of Delano in Miami: very white, clean and modern. If you want an amazing facial treatment, make a left out of the hotel and bring that tired mug into Dahra Beauty and Spa at Silom 154 for some pampering. — City Seen correspondent, Michael Siebert  (photo below)

Pullman Hotel G, Bangkok, in gay travel update in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Pullman Hotel G, Bangkok

NEW YORK, NY
You’ll find the Natural Gourmet Institute,a hidden gem, on the second floor of a non-descript Chelsea officebuilding, where every Friday night they set the communal tables and light the candles for a three-course vegetarian (often vegan and/or gluten-free) BYOB dinner. Prepared by the student chefs and chef instructors of NGI’s Chef Training Program, it’s a unique local experience — and very affordable at $45.Billy Kolber

TORONTO, CANADA
Rapper Drake and Restaurateur Sursur Lee opened Fring’s Restaurant, a posh, celeb-laden Asian fusion hot-spot, in September, drawing heaps of headlines and a glitzy grand opening. The clubby downtown hangout is inside the old Crush Wine Bar and is expected to be the new see-and-be-seen dinner spot, with celebrity DJs, a full bar, and menu by the renowned Lee. — Robert Sharp

For even more gay travel inspiration and trip-planning information and suggestions for destinations, tours and events download ManAboutWorld’s latest issue. Start planning your next trip now!

This was originally published in ManAboutWorld’s December issue and re-posted in Towleroad on December 18. Photos: Top: courtesy Kirchner Cultural Center; Bottom: courtesy Pullman Hotel G, Bangkok.





Gay Pride Montreal: 5 Things Not To Miss

6 07 2015

Gay Pride Montreal

Gay Pride Montreal (Fierté gai, à la française) unfurls its giant rainbow flag, fabulous (and talented) drag queens, hot hot go-go boys and a whole lot of amour August 10-16. It’s one of our favorite Prides on the continent and combines the je ne sais quoi we love about French-speaking Canada with a friendly and enthusiastic (not to mention well-organized) British/North American vibe. Pride includes a week of activities and culminates with a parade on the 16th — the city’s largest.

It’s a great reason to visit but not the only one. Montreal hosts a fantastic annual international fireworks competition which features pyrotechnics companies from around the world displaying their best and most explosive effects. If you don’t get enough of our own fireworks over the July 4th weekend, the Montreal events take place every Wednesday and Saturday from now through August 1.

Visit this site for more information about the event and to see the schedule, times and featured countries. Locals argue over the best viewing spots; in reality there are many. One of our readers swears the best is from the roof top of the Auberge Hotel in the old port though we prefer the Sky Club rooftop (below) since it’ll have the added benefit of being packed with gay boys.

Whether you come for the fireworks or to make your own during Montreal Gay Pride, take note of a few of our things not to miss:

Gay Pride Montreal1. Stay fabulous or stay gay: The contemporary Hotel Gault stands behind an 18th-century stone facade in the heart of Montréal’s historic district, our first-choice lodging recommendation in the city. If you prefer to stay gay, The 352-room Gouverneur Hotel Place Dupuis at the edge of the Gay Village is perfectly located for exploring the city and crawling home from the bars. Service is friendly, though the rooms and public areas are tired, and in need of renovation.

2. Take a selfie with Pink Balls: It’s art and it’s definitely kinda gay. Over 170,000 illuminated pink bulbs stretch along Ste-Catherine East (the heart of the gay village) and just beg to be included in your Instagram feed.

3. Party like a French rock star: This French-accented town knows how to party and entertain. You don’t even have to travel far with some of our favorites clustered in the Village: Code (great music and vibe); Sky (amazing terrace); and Black Eagle/Aigle Noir (for the leather and bear set and their admirers);

4. Catch a show. If you haven’t seen Mado and her talented troupe of performing cabaret queens, you haven’t really seen drag. Many of them actually sing, with great voices, and choreograph intricate dance routines. You can visit the club or find out where they’re performing during Montreal Gay Pride.

5. Video tour. If you can’t get there in person, check out gay-friendly Tourism Montreal’s web series, “Montreal Boy: Some Strings Attached” and enjoy a virtual French-Canadian romance à trois.

We published this in Towleroad and re-post it here for our readers who may have missed it.

This weekly Towleroad travel column is brought to you by ManAboutWorld, an immersive digital gay travel magazine for iOS and Android devices from Billy KolberEd SalvatoKenny Porpora, and nearly 75 Global Correspondents.

Gay Pride Montreal as seen in Towleroad and ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

For even more insider recommendations in Canada and other destinations in the U.S and around the globe, download ManAboutWorld Magazine on iTunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android).

ManAboutWorld is on the iPhone and Android phones! To download for the iPhone, click HERE. For Android phones, click HERE.





Celebrate A Decade Of Marriage Equality With Pride in Vancouver

14 06 2015

14853144744_88a2cd3f7e_zWe haven’t covered gay Vancouver in a while (sorry!), and it’s the 10th anniversary of same-sex marriage equality in Canada. Congrats to the progressive people of Canada. And for now here’s a listing of upcoming events of interest to LGBTQ locals and visitors. For more information visit GayVan.com. To enter a sweepstakes celebrating a decade of legal same-sex marriage, click here.

Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival (downtown Vancouver, July 25-August 2): Leading up to the famous Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival on August 2 are a series of events including a fun run, picnic and the Davie Street Dance Party.

East Side Pride Festival (Grandview Park, June 27): Located in Vancouver’s funky Commercial Drive neighbourhood this festival features local artisans and community groups doing important work in the LGBTQ+ community in Vancouver.

Surrey Pride Festival (Holland Park, June 28): Family event with live music, lots of vendors,  and great food.

New West Pride Week (New Westminster, August 8-15): Now nine days long, don’t miss the Columbia Street Party on August 15.

Photo: Robert Ashworth Read the rest of this entry »





Voila Montreal Gay Pride & A Whole Lot More LGBT Fun This Summer

5 06 2015
Montreal Gay Pride as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Montreal Gay Pride courtesy of Tourisme Montréal

In our current issue, we cover Montreal Pride (along with a couple of other more offbeat Pride celebrations). Pride (or la Fierté as its known locally) takes place August 10-16. We provide everything you need to plan the perfect trip. Clickhere for a FREE three-month trial subscription to our magazine available on iPad, Android tablets, iPhones and now Android phones.

As you ponder that, take note of all the other LGBT festivals, activities and events that will take place in one of the most fun North American cities to visit in the summer courtesy of Tourisme Montréal.

The summer kicks off with Montréal drag legend Mado Lamotte’s 15th annual Drag Race (yes, it predates RuPaul’s Drag Race) at the Montreal Fringe Festival, whose 2015 edition runs from June 1 to 21. Several professional Montréal drag queens team up with their amateur counterparts for a side-splitting outdoor afternoon competition on June 20 in Parc des Amériques. Free admission.

The McCord Museum has two major summertime exhibitions of particular interest to the LGBT community:

The Camp Fires: the queer Baroque of Léopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Milette show features 70 pieces by three renowned Canadian ceramists whose works have for over 30 years explored “’camp”’ themes and the gay male experience with an aesthetically powerful body of work rooted in the history of ceramics and contemporary culture. Runs from April 10 to August 16.

Horst

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