St-Laurent Boulevard, or The Main, as affectionately coined by Montrealers, is a quintessential artery that spans over 11 kilometres through six different boroughs. It’s a hot spot for various cultures and languages, and one of the trendiest streets you will find in our city. Treat yourself to a day in the heart and soul of Montreal by hitting up these low-key places on the weekend.
3976 St-Laurent Blvd.
This is the kind of vintage store that makes shopping exciting even for those who loathe it. Spanning over two floors, this enchanting second-hand store has things dating as far back as the 1940s. It can be hard to find what you need, but if you ask one of the super-friendly owners, they will help you find juuust what you are looking for. Part-owner Daniel Aubain gave me a tour of the store with a passionate and in-depth explanation of his favorite pieces. I have to admit, it made me want to blow my savings right then and there. “It’s not the cheapest Friperie but that’s because you can’t find these items anywhere else,” Aubain explained. Friperie offers everything from silky mink coats to old-school blazers to poodle skirts. The Marine jackets are worth checking out, because they are truly one-of-a-kind. For those of you who need to spice up your wardrobe but are on a tight budget, venture up to the second floor where it’s all under $20. This cute store won’t leave you disappointed, but it will make you late for wherever you have to be.
4433 St-Laurent Blvd.
Located in Little Portugal, this is probably one of the most underrated cafes on The Main. If you’re racing to finish a paper or cram for an exam, as I so often do, this place is heaven sent for you. It’s cute and quaint, and the bright yellow walls are so warm it’s like having the entire sun captured in the smallest space. With a variety of delicious coffees, teas, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts, you can’t go wrong by stopping at this little cafÃ©. Not only is everything under $10, but everything that they serve is completely fresh. It’s friendly and quiet, and certainly inviting. Essentially, this is a procrastinator’s haven. So instead of sitting at a packed Tim Hortons with your usual order, trade up for a chai lattÃ© and croissant at CafÃ© OlÃ©.
3616 St-Laurent Blvd.
This bar sets itself apart from the rest on The Main. It’s not huge, but its ambiance is something else. It’s an anomaly of sorts because it’s cozy but loud, and plays everything from Journey to The Jackson Five to hits you hear on your drive home. It’s usually packed on the weekend, which makes it hard to shuffle, but it’s hands down one of the best nights you’ll ever have. The atmosphere is lively and the deep red walls and decorations will instantly put you in the party mood. B-Side even has a rooftop terrace for those who prefer to dance under the moon, with two bars for when it’s crowded. The terrace isn’t just a summer treat because with heaters lining the walls, this rooftop continues the party far into the fall. Drinks fall into the normal price range, so while not entirely frugal, you won’t break the bank either.