Published Sep 08, 2014In our annual Hangout Handbook, Exclaim! asks some of our favourite artists to discuss the hidden gems in their towns. Here, Cadence Weapon outlines his picks for Montreal.
Café Sardine (9 Avenue Fairmount Est) is a small café (think "can of sardines") that is great for breakfast or a snack during the day and transforms into a Japanese pub food restaurant at night called Iwashi Izakaya. The donuts are insane and their coffee game is seriously dialled in.
I love S.W. Welch (225 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest). The proprietor Stephen Welch is a Mile End icon. A great rotating assortment of used books and an extremely chill atmosphere makes it a perfect respite from the big box book merchants downtown and the impersonal nature of online booksellers. One of the clerks there, Laura Broadbent, happens to be one of my favourite writers in Canada.
Montreal has no shortage of amazing record stores (shout out to Phonopolis and Cheap Thrills!) but I think I spend the most time digging at Death of Vinyl (6307 Boulevard St-Laurent). I've spent hours combing through their large wall of late '90s/early '00s rap singles.
Alexandraplatz (6731 de L'Esplanade) is the shit in Mile-Ex right now. It's a bar inside an old garage and the patio area is in a truck loading dock. It's become a summer institution. It's got a really inviting atmosphere and the cocktails are off the chain. They've started having block parties on the weekends with food trucks and DJs and vendors.
Bethlehem XXX (6568 Boulevard St-Laurentis a very unique restaurant run by Beaver Sheppard from the band Country and Brett Stabler. The menu has food from a different nation/culture every week/month and it's always phenomenal. There's usually some obscure music playing and weird videos on the TVs and the vibe inside is trippy as fuck, probably what it's like to be inside Beaver's head.
Bar Datcha (98 Avenue Laurier Ouest) is the dance club of the moment in the Mile End. Curated by Thomas Von Party from Turbo Recordings, there's a good vibe here pretty much every night. I DJ here occasionally and love the soundsystem and the insane lighting wall they have behind the DJ booth.
There's been a major police crackdown on unofficial venues and loft parties in Montreal over the past couple years. Drones Club is one of the last places going in the Mile End these days. Equal parts off-kilter rock and electronic shows, it's galvanized the scenes that used to populate venues like the Torn Curtain and Silver Door. It's always a really good time.
Cadence Weapon is an Edmonton-born Montreal-based rapper who's currently working on the follow-up to his Polaris Music Prize-nominated 2012 album Hope In Dirt City.