Each and every night of the week for the past 26 years, one Plateau bar-venue has provided live tunes to the Montreal community, benefiting both the borough's local culture and music community: Les Bobards. But as of this past Saturday, the beloved bar has closed its doors, never to reopen them for a single show or performance, as the Les Bobards staff revealed via Facebook.
In a not-very-revealing Facebook status, Les Bobards stated "Les Bobards closes its doors definitively today for breach of lease," and then continued to "thank [their] loyal customers and all musicians, artists, DJs , technicians and employees who helped make Les Bobards a bar and cultural venue that so many people liked over the past 25 years." There might have to be an edit on that last bit, as Les Bobards opened in 1989, so it's closer to 26 years.
You can definitely feel the love and remorse in Les Bobards' closing-notice, but curiously, no specific reason was given for the venue's "breach of lease." If you've been following the Les Bobards-related drama over the last couple of years, it isn't too hard to guess why the bar was forced to close. Most likely, Les Bobards was forced to close down from incessant noise complaints, an ongoing problem for the bar that must have come to a dark conclusion over the weekend.
Lacking a license to "present show on an elevated stage because it sits next to residential buildings," as noted by CBC, Les Bobards has had a rocky relationship with Plateau residents. The venue even went as far as soundproofing the space two years ago, but it looks like that wasn't enough. Even though the bar garnered support from groups like Save The Plateau, no action was taken from official Montreal leaders to ensure the venue's safety.
Borough councillor for the Plateau-Mont-Royal Christine Gosselin lamented the loss of Les Bobards in a note to CBC, stating "the elected officials of the Plateau-Mont-Royal are very sorry that the Bobards was unable to overcome its difficulties to continue its mission. I, for one, hope that manager Rabah Mammouche will be able to translate his expertise in other projects that will revive the spirit of Bobards." Kind of getting a "sorry, not sorry" vibe fro that, but that's just me.
For all those in a state of crisis wondering what will become of their favourite music events regularly held at Les Bobards, well, we can't offer you much comfort. We can confirm, however, that improv music collective Kalmunity, which usually peformed at Les Bobards on Tuesday nights, will be heading to Le Belmont for this week's show as the group revealed on their Facebook page.
Les Bobards, you will be missed.
P.S. Hey y'all. I've been gone a while, and I know you missed me, but I'm back. Expect a lot more posts outta this guy from here on out.
We've all had to morn the loss of some of our favourite stores this year. In Montreal, businesses open and close like clockwork. But instead of focusing on the negative, we've decided to focus on the positive. So, let's celebrate 10 awesome businesses that have gotten their start in 2015!
1. Red Bird Cafe
4276 Boul. Saint-Laurent
In only their first week of business, the Red Bird Cafe has already impressed their customers. Most of their food is based off family recipes, so you know it has a hearty taste. The delectable pastries coupled with health conscious meals make this new cafe a place to watch out for.
This one is strange, since it's not technically "new". The famed McGill pizza joint, Ameilos, broke hearts when it closed down in January of this year, but then rekindled the love when it reopened with a slight change of name and the same food. You can read the full story here.
This place is a little out of the box, but none the less, it's still pretty cool. It's an escape style gaming experience that you can play with your friends. The whole ting is a tad hard to explain so we suggest reading this to learn more. Regardless, it's been stealing Montrealers interest since it opened earlier this year.
The magic of the Christmas season in Montreal, it's a lie we all buy into each and every year without fail, because our inner 8 year old refuses to accept that, in actuality, the holidays season kinda sucks. Presents stopped being great when you had to start buying them for people, Christmas music is a legitimate form of torture, and your eyes are forced to gaze upon the ugliest of sweaters, not to mention on all the forced family time.
But all that shitty holiday stuff you can experience in any city. Right here in Montreal, however, we have more than a few special quirks that make the holiday season unbearable, and since no one else is venting about the awful side of the holidays, we thought we would, pretty much because we can.
We asked our readers what they hate most about Christmas time in Montreal and paired it up with our own gripes, for a hot mix of holiday hate. Keep your eyes peeled the next time we ask why you hate something, your snark remark might make the post, and feel free to add in on the comments below. Now lets get that Christmas-hate wheel spinning, and I'll start us off:
The giant flop that is the Saint Laurent Christmas lights
Back in late November, I was filled with some early Xmas cheer (which is only acceptable once December hits, but I let it slide this time) when news dropped that "the Main" stretch of St. Laurent would be gloriously lit with 2.5km of glowing Christmas lights.
The hype did not live up to the reality. My first thoughts were "what the actual fuck are those dinky lines of barely noticeable bulbs?" I hoped that was just the baseline for some legit Xmas action, that the shitty Dollorama bulbs set up would be covered up with noticeable, and ideally impressive, light fixtures, or God, at least some flashy tinsel. Not the case.
Now each day passes and I have to look up at what is pretty much the saddest Christmas display I've ever seen. "The Main Constellation" my ass. Houses in the burbs are better lit up then St. Laurent street is. I actually hope some corrupt city officials spent half the budget on blow, forcing them to buy the lamest lights ever, because at least that means someone got some cheer out of them.
The unadulterated awfulness that is the Santa Claus Parade
Nothing ruins Christmas like the Montreal Santa Claus Parade. The city closes 23 downtown blocks to march thousands of perma-smiling, costumed puppets through an unimpressed crowd of bored, cold children and their helicopter parents. Nobody smiles, everybody loses. It’s an all-out bukakke of futility.
First of all, it’s in mid-November – more than a month away from actual Christmas. For Christ’s sake get the date within the ballpark.
Wave after wave of frightening creatures march by, visions of sugarplums and majestic reindeer are crushed by characters from horror films until every last drop of Christmas magic is squeezed out of Timmy’s head. After two hours Santa finally rolls in flanked by an entourage of cops like he’s being escorted to prison. He waves his bell hypnotically in the air and sounds like he’s either hammered or one “HO” away from cardiac arrest. And then it’s over, and everyone’s pissed. And you’re standing by a stripclub called Octopussy. Merry Christmas Timmy.
Every year, my colleagues at work, waitresses / bartenders making small talk at restaurants / bars, and almost every other person who sparks a conversation asks "So, how's the Christmas shopping coming along? Gotten all your gifts or are ya waiting for the last minute".... And me being like, neither, I don't buy Christmas gifts, I'm Jewish.
Christmas itself is fine. What I fucking hate are Christmas carols. There should be a federal ban on Christmas carols in November. Start playing carols two weeks before Christmas, or else by the time the 25th comes everyone's already fucking exhausted of the whole holiday. Feels like it's been Christmas for the past two years.
Oh, and anyone else think that Santa-inspired sexy lingerie is super fucked up? Who looks at a fat old guy and thinks "this could use some ho ho ho-ing up"?
Montreal is always bumping with wicked events to keep things spicy. From Igloofest to after-hours, life in this city seems to operate on the motto "work hard, play harder." For those nights where you've got the itch to get down but your favorite headliner isn't in town, there's always a wild weekly event to hit up with your crew.
What's a weekly you might be asking? Answer: venues and performers that hold down one night a week every week like nobody's business. We've rounded up our top spots to kick it on the regular if you want a guaranteed good crowd, good time and good vibes any night of the week.
These bars keep it real, especially when you know what day it's popping off. So, for a week of parties that just won't quit, this is our week of weeklies challenge to you 514.
Korova has been hosting this weekly for years now, each Monday they feature a different artist as a theme for the night: R. Kelly, Jay Z, The Spice Girls, Wu Tang Clan, Justin Timberlake... you name it. It's all about the Pabst Tallboy bottles at 2 for $10, or if you're not a beer person (do those exist?) shots are at 4 for $12. Basically, it's a cheap drunk to prime you for packing way too many friends into the photobooth at the bar before you hit the dance floor.
Kalmunity @ Les Bobards
A summary of this night in one word: real. A packed house at Les Bobards is a guaranteed on Tuesdays. They've got pool, drinks and a live improvised set that can't be beat. Bi-lingual rap, soul singers, a live band and slam poets all work together, feed off the crowd's energy and never disappoint. Kalmunity's live organic improv is sure to have you shaking the imperialism from your hips before you can say "another round!"
WEDNESDAY - Take your pick! (or hit up both)
ASAP Wednesdays @ Salon Officiel
Every week ASAP Wednesdays hits hard thanks to the ever-fresh slammers GrandBuda throws at the crowd at Salon Officiel. It's a packed house every time.
Bass Drive @ Le Belmont
Voted Montreal's best club night for the last 4 years in a row, this one is a guaranteed rager in the best way possible. The legendary Vilify used to hold it down every week before her recent move to the Berlin scene. Never fear, Le Belmont has been pulling in some kick-ass headliners to keep the Bass Drive legacy going strong such as Truth and TrollPhace in recent weeks. Get ready to bounce for this one.
MELT @ Blizzarts
MELT MTL is a crew you should tune into if you haven't already. You might know them by their individual names: Nick Wisdom, Pomo, Charles Cozy, Noo-Bap, Amaris Daniel & Walla P. Their weekly at Blizzarts has been killing it for 40 weeks straight as of this Thursday. These guys pull together a fusion of everything from future funk to r&b. Guaranteed to have you jammin' with a smile on your face.
Get Nice @ Blizzarts
We're bringing you back to Blizzarts again on Fridays for a steamy night of hip-hop, rap and flyness brought to you by Simahlak. You may recognize the signature neon sign that lights up this night from your friends' instagram photos, and you'll know it a whole lot better once you get hooked on this weekly.
Saturday is prime party day and if you want a fresh spot to check out we're recommending StereoBar. Stereo Afterhours' downstairs, before-hours, counterpart has been booking some sleek acts. Their deal is that they create a clubbing atmosphere different that what you'll find most other places: no bottle service, no reservations, no cameras, no glowsticks just quality music to get the night going. If you're looking to keep the party going late (since it is a Saturday), and you don't sleep when there's fun going on (not now that you know where all the best weeklies are), then Stereo will be waiting for you upstairs at 3am to keep you dancing until dawn.
Jazz & Dilla @ Honey Martin
Take it easy, grab a drink, and get cozy at Honey Martin with your boo (or would-be boo) to the sleek tunes of Jazz & Dilla, brought to you by Frase & Atamone. After a long week of weeklies this is the perfect way to unwind. What's better that jazz and hip-hop? Nothing, that's what.
There's always a reason to celebrate when you live in a city this sick. Just make sure you bring a coat to check so that all that illness doesn't hold you back from next week's dose of wild weekly action. Party on, Montreal.
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The first stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins June 12. Despite much controversy surrounding mass evictions of "favela" dwellers, state-sanctioned murder, and misuse of public funds, we're still excited for the footie. Canada didn't qualify, so we can root for America (tough draw), The Netherlands (vs. Spain), or Mexico (North/Central America pride). Rooting for France is obviously an exercise in futility, unless you're rooting for the yearly meltdown. Also, you can roll w/ a new team, I personally rep Côte D'Ivoire, 'cuz Drogba 4ever. Anyway, here's some of our favorite spots to watch the Cup, with an emphasis on smaller and team-specific bars and restos. Please tell us about your favorite little spots to catch a match!
Chez Serge is screening World Cup game on their many TVs. Everyone in the city has been to Serge, and know why it rules. Come back for swerve-y, sugary big drink buckets!, people being thrown from the bull, and now all the World Cup 2014 matches. team, match! One big extra Serge has for the World CupThis Ivorian restaurant is the place to be for great Ivorian food like Garba (cassava, fish, spices), Alloco (fried plantain), grilled fish, and choukouya (grilled meat). This place is also a hangout for footie fanatics. There's great big TVs (w/ appropriate channels), delicious and affordable food, and a humble atmosphere. Come cheer on Didier, Yaya Touré, and the best jerseys in the business.Aunt Dai is an authentic Chinese restaurant that also houses big flatscreen TVs and plenty of seating. This place is already a favorite spot of locals for watching Premier League matches, hockey games, and everything else. Aunt Dai is having a in-store and online promotion for the World Cup. Predict the score of a game correctly and win a free main dish, soup, and coke! Rules on the Las Palmas is one of Montreal's few authentic and beloved Colombian restaurants. This restaurant has TVs, so I'd imagine they'll be showing Colombia's games. At the very least, you'll likely find people supporting the Colombian team, and you'll definitely find delicious doughy empanadas, Colombian specialties, and and array of fresh juices and smoothies!Word on the "street" is that Irish Embassy harbors Germany fans during the World Cup. Come to cheer on the fatherland in Group G, group of G-eth with USA, Ghana, and Portugal. Germany has an excellent team this year, as always, and faces an incredibly difficult first set of matches. The Moosehead is $5 a pint and there's here too.
1. Chez Serge
2. Restaurant L’abidjanaise
3. Les Bobards
Les Bobards is one of the beating hearts of Montreal's Brazilian community. There's no place better to be rooting for the home team at this year's World Cup. Come with your best single name jersey! During the matches the place gets rowdy, w/ patrons playing tam-tams and giving it all for the yellow and green.
4. Burgundy Lion
This St-Henri spot is a great modern English pub in a rising and passionate community. The food (British-Indian and Fish & Chips), service, and drinks, are all excellent. There's two floors and plenty of HD TVs for your viewing pleasure. This is a great place to get the best of British pubs (Indian food), and totally avoid the worst (stabby hooligans).
5. Cafe Olympico
Cafe Olympico is ground-zero for Team Italia. The last time this group joyously shouted "Abbiamo Vinto!" through the littered streets of Rome was 2006. Italy's team has been stepping up the S-talk in preparation for their grouping w/ England. Italy says they're better than the Brits this year. It doesn't matter though, because neither team is winning it all. Nonetheless, Cafe Olympico is a great cafe part of Montreal history. So come on by even if you could give a fig about Gianluigi Buffon, or the Italian club.
6. Alto Restaurant
Alto's is a hotspot for drunk students and fans of the team that always ties Argentina for most gross sweaty ponytails: Greece. Although the Hellenic Republic's chances arn't great in this Cup, their group could've been worse. Alto's is open late, and will likely be showing the Greek games.
7. La Taverne Normand
This bar has a solid tripartite reputation for Oranje support during the World Cup, good cheese plates, and cheap beer. Come watch RvP, Arjen Robben, and other assorted balding Dutchmen make a good go in their tough first round group featuring Spain, Chile, and Australia.
8. Le Massillia
This unique Marseilles bistro is a great spot to watch the impending player/coach/racial meltdown due for the French squad. If the meltdown doesn't come, this will be a great spot to watch France's most talented squad in years. Massillia does great croque's-monsieurs, mashed potatoes, and serves pastis too!
This West African and Caribbean resto is a great spot to watch the World Cup. Many supporters of Cameroon frequent here, as do many Senegalese fans, saddened that their team didn't qualify. Come commiserate over Canada's un-qualification with some Senegalese. The thieboudienne (grilled fish w/ rice) and spicy marinated Yassa are prepared excellently here.
11. Cafe Central
This Little Portugal hangout is the #1 spot to watch the world's hardest ball kicker, CR7, and Portugal. Portugal is in Group G with Germany, Ghana, and the US. Tough draw. Nonetheless, Cafe Central is always packed with Portuguese people playing domino, meeting for drinks, or watching the footie. If you can't speak Portuguese, then you better be wearing a CR7 or Nani jersey!
12. Club Espagnol
Club Espagnol is an authentic spot that has been embraced by Montreal's Spanish community. The food is great and the crowd is raucous. The cuisine is heavy on garlic and includes tasty boquerones, paella, calamari, and other tapas. Since the Tiki-taka will have most people bored to tears by the time Iniesta makes the pass, everyone here gets pretty hydrated.
13. Le Tequila Bar
This Montreal Mexican spot has it all: open to 3AM, delicious tacos, 'dillas, and homemade guac, plus lots of draft brews and tequilas. If you're rooting for the red, white, and green, there's no better place to be. Mexico has a really tough first grouping, so come here for some corn tortillas and white knuckle matches!
14. Ye Old Orchard Pub
Ye Old Orchard has found itself in MTLblog's sights before, because of their amazing and enormous Capon wings. Deservedly then and now, Ye Old Orchard is a great place to watch the games, have some wings, some Guinness, and cry to ourselves about North American lameness at soccer.