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Montreal's Gothic Nightclub Is Revamped & Rising From the Ashes (FIRST LOOK)

All-black decor with gold glam accents and a hint of kink. ❤️🔥

MTL Blog, Staff Writer
A stairwell illuminated in red and blue leads down to the club. Right, A red lamp lights up empty gold frames on a black wall.

A stairwell illuminated in red and blue leads down to the club. Right, A red lamp lights up empty gold frames on a black wall.

Cabaret Berlin is back in black with a new location and a look that's to die for. Montreal's only club dedicated to goth, queer and fetish parties reopens on August 13.

The underground club is night and day from its former location a block away. Now a nondescript door near Papineau metro station leads down two flights of stairs to the sizeable venue.

Jet black walls contrast with the gold glam accents on a church-altar-turned-DJ-booth flanked by a giant sound system. Gilded art frames adorn the space above an ornate couch. Dark leather seating with velvet cushions lines another wall, ending at an X-cross used in BDSM play. Alluring red neon lighting, along with electronic candles, sparkle along the gold glitter bar.

"This is a safe space for everyone to come together," Cabaret Berlin co-owner Joe Mcharg, who goes by the stage name Coffin Joe, told MTL Blog.

"We'll host all kinds of parties — industrial nights a couple times a month, kink nights, lesbian nights — and since we're in the Village I feel like our clientele is safe no matter what they wear."

Unlike some downtown venues where Coffin Joe has hosted events and had to walk women to their cars afterward out of concern about harassment, he said the area around Cabaret Berlin reflects an openness and inclusivity also present in goth culture.

The club's DJ booth is a revamped church altar.The club's DJ booth is a revamped church altar.@davidwallyrawalia | Instagram

Coffin Joe is the creative mind behind the popular Nevermore goth nights that he launched in 2009.

When host venue Katacombes closed in 2019, however, he paused the shows unable to find a suitable replacement… until now.

"When we finished working on this place, I thought 'you know what, I'm bringing it back.' This club has the capacity and it's dark enough. We'll host the next one here a week after the reopening," he said.

A lamp illuminates an empty gilded frame on a black wall.A lamp illuminates an empty gilded frame on a black wall.@davidwallyrawalia | Instagram

The club is pulling out all the stops when it opens its doors with a 'Babylon Berlin' themed party inspired by the neo-noir German TV show of the same name that reflects the dark and decadent aftermath of World War I.

Burlesque performers Tristan Ginger and Lavender May will take to the shiny stage at the centre of the club, while DJs Faith, Plastik Patrik and Davidé bring the beats.

"A Nevermore DJ will open the night, there'll be some trash rock n' roll, some cold wave, and it will end with techno. So it will start dark and finish with upbeat electronic music when people are buzzing," said Coffin Joe.

"We want it to show the spectrum of what people can expect to hear when they come here."

Coffin Joe stands behind the bar at Cabaret Berlin.Coffin Joe stands behind the bar at Cabaret Berlin.@davidwallyrawalia | Instagram

While attendees of the reopening will get a taste of the venue's musical selection, they'll only get a glimpse of the space's full visual potential.

"Each night we host will dictate our deco," said Coffin Joe. "When there are fetish parties, there will be toys out to play with. For goth parties there might be spider webs and skull pillars. I have a giant monster that could take up half the space. We have a whole room of props in the back, so there's a lot in store."

All of the lighting in the club changes colour too, so every time someone comes in they'll likely find a custom look, he said.

A gold glitter bar catches the light.A gold glitter bar catches the light.@davidwallyrawalia | Instagram

The opening of Cabaret Berlin coincides with a seeming revival of Montreal's goth scene.

"The past few years there have been so many more faces — new promoters and a new crowd," said Coffin Joe. That means multiple events per week to choose from, many of which will take place at the new club.

"Goth culture can appeal to a lot of people. Music-wise, there's Depeche Mode and who doesn't like The Cure? But you'll also hear Céline Dion and Debbie Gibson here. At the old place, I've never heard so many guys sing Mariah Carey together at once and it was amazing," he said. "I'd like that to happen again."

Cabaret Berlin Reopening

When: Saturday, August 13

Where: 1982, rue Sainte-Catherine E.

Cover: $20

Accessibility: Close to Papineau metro station. Not wheelchair accessible as it's down two flights of stairs.

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