Canada’s Lit. Shady Karaoke Bars? Not so much.

So basically I have nothing but great stories from Montreal, despite the intense city driving and being so sick I couldn’t speak all weekend. Forgive the lack of quality to these photos, most of them are from snapchat. Here’s the story:

view from hotel

View from the Hotel on a rainy day

We stayed in this ‘little’ hotel (12 stories) in the middle of downtown Montreal. The five of us left at 9 PM Thursday night and arrived to check in at 2 AM, stayed up until 4 AM exploring the hotel’s rooftop and private gym, where we met a guy way beyond trashed going to get breakfast at 3:30. That’s when we knew there was no way this weekend was going to be boring.

The next day we woke up bright and early to catch breakfast somewhere nice, and of course since we haven’t had the chance to legally drink yet, we were sure to grab mimosas with it. The food anywhere we went was absolutely fantastic- and coming from me (I was so hopped up on meds and painkillers I was practically numb), that’s saying something. I, being kind of a foodie and not really ashamed to admit it, made it my goal for these three days to have as much eggs Benedict (in some form or another) as I could possibly handle from as many restaurants as we went to.

bontanical garden ticket

My ticket into the Botanical Gardens

garden beauty

One of the many greenhouse rooms.

butterfly

One of thousands of butterflies in there!

The first day we went to the botanical gardens which was the first time we took our cars anywhere away from the hotel. I learned a lot about how to city drive… With the new SUV, it proved a challenge. Don’t want to brag but I did pretty great. The gardens were absolutely stunning, and we stayed far longer than any of us expected. They had many different rooms with many different environments for the variety of plants… plus a butterfly room. Again; stunning. I can’t even explain it.

planetarium

Obviously this was my favorite room. Cold and dry, just like my personality.

old montreal

Old Montreal’s scenic streets, great for vending and art appreciation.

The second day we explored old Montreal, where we actually got stuck driving behind a horse and buggy. Again, it was magical. We toured numerous art galleries, discovered that you can actually have a payment plan for some paintings, and got souvenirs from a small basement shop run by this young woman who created every piece of jewelry by hand. Everything about this place was authentic, and from a tourist’s point of view, absolutely adorable.

A FUCKING PINEAPPLE

One of my friends had to finish off my COCONUT because A DRINK IN A COCONUT IS A LOT FOR ONE PERSON!

Being 19-20 year olds in Canada, I’m sure you all know the goal of our trip wasn’t just for the food. The first full night spent in Montreal we found a bar, which turned out to be pretty shady but had awesome drinks. I’ve been obsessed with Pina Colatas ever since my mom let me try a sip of hers at 12 (a sip. She wasn’t condoning it). Naturally my first legal drink (okay, minus the mimosa) had to be that. So we ordered, and the bartender literally handed me a coconut. A coconut! It was magical. We stayed out for a couple hours before calling it a night.

The second night was a little more interesting. We discovered that buying booze is magically cheap compared to going out, so we pre-gamed and then went to this shady little Karaoke place on the edge of Chinatown. They had absolutely zero customers other than us on this particular Saturday night, and upon reading this, you’ll probably understand why.

out on the town

Gang’s all here!

We go in, ask for a private singing room. The room is $15 an hour and a purchase of a drink for all parties is required. Seems reasonable, right? So we order our drinks, mine was called “The Mind Eraser”, but I assure you I remember every last detail. He delivers our drinks and then says, “By the way, cash only.” None of us had brought cash. I’ll admit, maybe that’s our mistake. But he follows this up with, “Don’t worry we have an ATM you can use when you’re done.” So we stop worrying about it, and enjoy our hour in this room, belting out every last throwback we can find on this machine which is neither in French or English, and doesn’t have an option for either language. At the end of the hour, we try to pay and the ATM is broken. We ask what to do and the guy goes “I don’t know I’m not a professional, can’t one of you go find another ATM somewhere?” to which obviously we respond, “We’re not from around here. Do you know where the nearest ATM is?” He shrugs and says somewhere in Chinatown. We’re already in Chinatown. That’s not very helpful.

So my friend and I volunteer to go find an ATM, drunk, in the middle of this massive city. It doesn’t take very long with a dead phone and dulled senses to get lost in a place like this. We finally find the Metro after sprinting across intersection after intersection like chickens with our heads cut off, and asking a stranger for directions. At the Metro some guy is of course heckling tourists for money as they go to the ATM. As you can imagine it was a pretty stressful time. We finally make it back to the street the Karaoke bar is on, and we see our friend running to us yelling “They kidnapped her! None of us know where she is!” Apparently the manager didn’t think we were coming back so she took it into her hands and decided to bring one of our friends to an ATM to insure they were getting paid. Keep in mind we’re a group of five. So two of us had been drunkenly (desperately) stumbling around this massive city trying to free our friends from this bar. One of us had been taken by the bar manager without contact with the rest of us. My other friend is running towards us on the street obviously scared out of her mind. And the fifth of us is literally trapped in this shady karaoke bar in the basement of some banquet place. All of us had been separated.

We go inside and demand that they call the woman who had taken our friend away before we paid them. So they call her, and we pay them and don’t leave until everyone is back together. Needless to say, this place didn’t get a tip. And they’re pretty lucky I don’t remember the name of this place because otherwise this would be an angry yelp review and I’m pretty sure separating us and holding people captive over money without an authority of the law is illegal no matter where you are.

bar old montreal

A bar in old Montreal.

ANYWAYS! We were determined to make the night a success despite that horror story. So we go to a sports bar, meet probably the coolest Canadian I’ll ever meet in my life, who takes care of us and points us to all the best clubs in walking distance. Sadly we didn’t follow her instructions (Next time for sure) but went to the first club found within walking distance. I swear to you that none of us meant for this to happen, but that first club we saw ended up being a male strip club. How we found out? The bouncer says to us as we’re going in, “Enjoy the cocks!” Everything that happened after that is none of your concern… but I would like to brag, I matched with one of the strippers on tinder.

The last day in Montreal was spent sleeping in, checking out of the hotel, and finding one last place to eat. It took us 2 hours to get food for no reason and the glasses were all stained and still had dollar store tags on them, so I wouldn’t recommend going to that diner (not that it matters because I don’t remember the name of it anyways) but the food was still delicious.

Best part of the trip? I may have smuggled a plant into the States. At least it wasn’t booze.

Farewell Montreal, I’ll see you again real soon. And one last reminder to you all, straight from the botanical garden;

outtro

Adventure on!

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