Ten Reasons Why Montreal Is the Coolest City on the Continent

Share Button

Being unapologetic tech-heads, we hit the north recently for Montreal’s digital creativity festival MUTEK. Focusing on the digital arts and music, MUTEK is utterly unparalleled in that it combines daytime panels on such topics as working with TIPTOP Modular Audio (look it up) with (very) late night showcases by high-profile DJs and the bleeding edge of new electronic acts… some very creative concepts. To wit, the final MUTEK show at the Musee d’Art Contemporain was Music For Lamps, where…there were lamps. That went on and off. And made for all kinds of freaky and dazzling effects in response to electronic music. Luckily, we had time outside of MUTEK to take in Montreal, which we decided is just as cool as any European capital on the other side of the Atlantic. Here are 10 things we love about Montreal right now.

1. The Quebec capital has always been our fave Canadian city (sorry, Ottawa), in part due to the amazing music festivals. Notable are Pop Montreal, which brings out the hip kids, and M For Montreal, which showcases the indie up-and-comers from the region.

2. The Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT) is ground zero for the city’s digerati and serves as a hub for numerous creative endeavors. We dined at the avant culinary incubator Foodlab on the 3rd floor, where carefully sourced and always organic ingredients go into everything they make, including the cocktails. Cool crowd, too.

Food Lab BBQ

3. On a beautiful spring or summer day, strolling the trendy L’Avenue du Mont-Royal, and hitting the street market for regional craft beers from a local vendor.

4. Handmade, Russian style donuts at the hip Chez Boris.

5. Hotel 10, with its sleek design, and stylish terrace.

Hotel10 images

6. Maybe it’s a French thing – but Montreal has a very high percentage of sexy people. A 2014 poll ranked the pulchritude of its women at #8 worldwide.

7. Montrealers love their biking. We hit up local fave Fitz and Follwell for their hip staff and insidery bike tours, and laid down tracks all over the city.

Galerie Laroche image

Galerie d’Art Yves Laroche image by William Sabourin

8. The Mile End gallery scene, including favorites La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse and Galerie d’Art Yves Laroche.

9. Exploring the hippest hood, Mile-Ex, just to the north of the last hippest hood, Mile End. We felt a bit like Anthony Bourdain, as local foodie guides Spade & Palacio escorted us to an amazingly authentic Salvadoran restaurant Resto Los Planes and through the largest food market on the continent, Marche Jean-Talon, where we quite enthusiastically partook of locally produced meats and cheeses.

10. Vieux Montreal is an amazing cross section of historical architectural styles, capped by the astonishing neo-gothic Notre Dame cathedral. For dinner, we ditched the tourists and hit up the gastronomically divine and very subterranean Le Bremner.

Want more Montreal? Check out artist David Altmejd’s city guide here

Sidewalk sale on Plaza St-Hubert.


Party Your Ass Off at MoMA PS1 Every Saturday This Summer: Here’s Where to Get Your Eat on Afterwards

Share Button

MoMA PS1 kicked off its annual Warm Up summer concert series on Saturday, a weekly showcase of DJs, bands, and producers that’s been bringing partiers from all five boroughs to the Long Island City museum’s courtyard for the past 18 years. Anyone who lives in New York should hit the outdoor shindig, taking place every Saturday from 3 to 9 PM until September 5, at least once a summer. No matter what time you show up and how much you drink, you’ll need some post-Warm Up eats. Here are restaurants near MoMA PS1, offering everything from brownie sundaes to steamy bowls of ramen, to soak up the day’s sun and alcohol. Plus, check out the Warm Up full line-up here.

Court Square DinerIf you’ve ever been to MoMA PS1, you’ve seen Court Square Diner. It’s the neon-lit, retro diner across the street from the museum that is the epitome of a classic American diner. Open 24/7, it has everything you could possible crave after six hours at an outdoor concert: perfectly golden-brown french fries, brownie sundaes, stacked burgers with onion rings. Come to think of it, the only reason you wouldn’t go here after Warm Up is because the wait is too damn long. (45-30 23rd St., Long Island City)
Distance from MoMA PS1: One-minute walk

Mu RamenDon’t let summer humidity shy you away from a big bowl of hot ramen — it’s cross-culturally acknowledged to be one of the best drunk foods out there. Plus, you should absolutely take advantage of being in LIC to hit one of the hottest slurp shops in this ramen-crazed city: Mu Ramen. Pete Wells designated the spot his favorite ramen shop in New York, and if the crowds that line up for the first-come, first-served seating are any indication, this place rocks. Sit at the counter and get a Japanese craft beer, start with some scallion-like pancakes, then slurp through a creamy bowl of tonkotsu. (12-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City)
Distance from MoMA PS1: Four-minute walk 














Photo: Mu Ramen

Corner BistroSometimes all you need is a burger. One that you can trust will taste as good as it did the last time you had it, and not in a dependable, fast-food-always-does-the-trick kind of way. Enter Corner Bistro’s Long Island City outpost. The iconic Greenwich Village burger spot has been bringing its mouthwatering bacon and cheese Bistro Burger to the outer boroughs for the past three years. With a side of fries and a cold glass of McSorley’s Ale, you’ve got yourself a second wind. (47-18 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City)
Distance from MoMA PS 1: 8-minute walk

Casa EnriquePeople who know the Long Island City restaurant scene know Casa Enrique. Some New Yorkers say it’s the best Mexican food in the city, and they’ll point to its Michelin star as proof. It’s casual enough for a mature post-Warm Up dinner, but know it’s less bottomless chips and margs and more $10 guacamole. You go to Casa Enrique if you want quality over quantity. (5-48 49th Ave., Long Island City)
Distance from MoMA PS1: 10-minute walk











Photo: Casa Enrique

Tuk TukYou know when you’re looking for a place to eat, and one of your friends announces that they could “do Asian”? This is where you go. Tuk Tuk has a standard menu of Thai dishes, and a few adventurous specialities for those who venture beyond pad thai. Spicy coconut curries, noodle soups, and stir fries come in family-style portions. The relaxed atmosphere, quick service, and modest bill have a tendency to draw the Warm Up crowd. (49-06 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City)
Distance from MoMA PS 1: 9-minute walk 

The Creek and The CaveIf you’re looking to transition the dartying to night, the Creek and the Cave is a good place to start. The California-style Mexican restaurant hosts nightly comedy shows on its small stage, which has seen total first-timers take on an open mic to professional stand-up comedians. But don’t think its function as an entertainment venue means its food is sub-par. Au contraire. Its menu is full of hearty burritos, pub-style burgers, nachos, and vegan enchiladas. Come for the quesadillas, stay for the laughs. (10-93 Jackson Ave., Long Island City)
Distance from MoMA PS1: 6-minute walk

Jimmy’s No. 43

Share Button

A lot of places have opened up in New York over the past couple of years claiming to be gastropubs, but perhaps no establishment is more worthy of the inherently cool title as Jimmy’s No. 43, a basement bar that used to be a Polish social club. A destination for anyone at all interested in the New York craft beer community, whether you’re attending a tasting led by an expert or grabbing drinks with a friend. Definitely plan to order some food — the kitchen serves a changing menu of elevated pub grub, like pork belly tacos and adobe wings.

Sing Sing Karaoke

Share Button

Avoid the faux-punk crowds of St. Mark’s Place and go to the Avenue A location of this necessary karaoke lounge. Sing at the bar or get some friends together to reserve a private room. Drinks are cheap, especially when they’re $4 at happy hour, and if you booked a room, servers bring them to you. It’s pretty shabby but aren’t all good karaoke bars?


Share Button

If you like, no, love, craft beer, this St. Mark’s bar is for you. The bartenders know their stuff — tell them what you normally drink, and they’ll give you something a) better and b) that you’ve never heard of. The space is small and hallway-length narrow, so it’s not great for groups — more of a place to catch up with a friend and/or grab a beer before dinner.

Elvis Guesthouse

Share Button

The people behind Williamsburg’s Baby’s All Right opened its East Village version in March 2015. The age range of the indie clientele changes with the night, but everyone is either at the basement club for the live DJ set or the live band set to perform. Drinks are priced within the same range of other non-divey Avenue A spots, with $6 beers and $12 house cocktails.

Madam Geneva

Share Button
If you like gin by the bathtub full, this is your place. They’ve got the best gin and tonic in town — but that’s playing it way too safe. Order the Hyde Park Swizzle, a mix of Beefeater, lime, mint, and a dash of Angostura. Or get really crazy and try the Corpse Survivor, a deadly combination of Bombay “east” and absinthe.