In any travel group, people take roles based on what they are naturally inclined to do. As a perpetually hungry, plant obsessed designer, I am the one dragging everyone to inspiring activities and the most Pinterest-worthy restaurants serving delectable dishes that make you crave it long after you return home. But I’m not just looking for great food, customer service, interior design, etc…but the place must also possess a vibe with a certain je ne sais quoi.
Tall order? Definitely but I’m very single-minded when it comes to sniffing these spots out and as Montreal is a culinary destination with a vibrant art scene, it was an easy task. Here is A Designer’s Ultimate Guide to Awe-Inspiring Spots In Montreal:
TO START THE DAY RIGHT:
What started out as a cult favourite bar, decorated with vintage-inspired wooden pews and exposed brick, branched out (or rather, BRUNCHED out ahaha) to serve beautifully plated brunch dishes. Start with chocolate and/or lemon beignets followed by colourful dishes of house smoked trout with soft boiled eggs, beets and crème fraîche on a green onion pancake and buckwheat pancakes with strawberries, candied walnuts, slathered in maple syrup. You might as well sleep there after last call to avoid the line-up in the morning!
TO GET WORK DONE:
Bar Darling is a dream come true for freelancers who are always on the hunt for a sweet, little hipster café to mooch WiFi off of. The space is a visual orgasm with inviting leather couches, tons of table and bar space, unique lighting fixtures, and air purifying plants hanging from every wall.
Weird garage sale finds decorate the space, creating an eclectic vibe that is sure to spark inspiration and if that doesn’t work, you can trade your coffee or tea for a good Old Fashioned.
TO GATHER BACKSTORY:
Fitz & Follwell Bike Tour
As a designer, I have a deep appreciation for the “why” behind designing something a certain way. The Fitz & Follwell Hoods & Hidden Gems Bike Tour satisfied that curiosity while taking in the gorgeous sights of Montreal. We got to wheel around like a little vintage bike gang and hear about the history of the city while munching on French pastries.
FOR FINDING SOME ZEN
Working in the creative industry means that I’m inclined towards working in expansive, open concept studios which is why the layout of Kampai Garden is so appealing to me. High-ceilinged rooms and wall-to-wall plants juxtapose an industrial interior with private nooks pocketed within the space for intimate rounds of pool.
While I found the service and the crowd too cool for school (and not in a good way) and the food portions to be tiny and just passably tasty, the interior decor is a plant lover’s dream.
FOR AN ART DIRECTED INSTAGRAM FEED
La Mal Nécessaire
I don’t know whether speakeasys are everywhere these days because it lends a sexy mystique to the establishment or because they ran out of budget to buy signage…Either way, La Mal Nécessaire is one located in Montreal’s Chinatown, marked by a glowing, neon pineapple. While I didn’t get a chance to drop by during my trip, their secondary Instagram feed really jumped out at me while I was doing my research as it is a strikingly vibrant, visual cocktail menu.
TO UNWIND AT THE END OF THE DAY:
By this point, you must be able to tell that I’m a sucker for plant-filled open spaces and Fitzroy is a prime example. Plain signage and a sketchy stairwell opens up to an expansive room with the long tables and comfy couches that can easily accommodate a gang of frazzled designers and the arcade machines and rows of pool and foosball tables are ideal for unwinding after a long work week. As the night progresses, the atmosphere becomes more club-like with a fantastic DJ.
FOR A LATE NIGHT CARB-FIX:
Everything – the art nouveau style logo that edges the plates, the specials written on floor-to-ceiling mirrors, the whimsical Marc Tremblay caricatures of famous Montrealers that line the white tiled walls – comes together to create a tastefully curated space. Open till 2am, Foiegwa is perfect for satisfying late night cravings of spaghetti with butter, black truffles, a slow-cooked egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano