What can possibly be worse than being stuck in a sea of humans in 30 degree weather? Well, a lot of things, like farting on a first date or watching a loved one die. But being stuck on the corner of Crescent & Ste Catherine streets during Formula 1 weekend is definitely an honorable mention in my Top 100 of All Things That Suck. Brace yourselves, folks, because it looks like we might get stuck with the damn race again. Negotiations between the city of Montreal and good old sexist Bernie Ecclestone, president & CEO of Formula 1, have been taking place over the last couple of weeks.
You can imagine how deep my heart sank when I heard the news. We’re already forced to cope with Jazzfest, Just for Laughs, Francopholies, Nuits d’Afrique, and about a million other tourist-magnet festivals. Living and working downtown makes the presence of these events extremely unpleasant and difficult to deal with. F1 weekend holds a not so special place in my heart – it’s when Crescent mobilizes to welcome the throngs of rich tourists and wannabes. I can already smell Jean Paul Gaultier secreting out of thick, over-tanned necks. I’m hearing distant sounds of lame euro dance and loud, drunk American frat boys. I think I can even see guys flaunting Ed Hardy caps and girls wearing jeans with no ass pockets.
Wait. I’m re-reading those last few sentences and come to think of it, these images are not only reserved for F1 weekend. They are the harsh, daily realities of Crescent Street. Crescent is, as depressing as this may sound, the “it” street for far too many tourists & residents of Montreal. There are so many lame things about this street. I’m not even sure where to start.
The tiny 1 km strip boasts so-called trendy spots such as Club Se7en. Did you ever hear of it? Me neither, but this is what I found on their website:
“INITATE your inner soull… SATIATE your every desire… The proof is in the NUMBER. […] A design in decadence… A theme that highlights the good thiongs in life… And a vibe that will SOak within every poar of your body… Ultra MODERN – Ultra UNIQUE – Ultra CHIC…. For those who only want the very best.SEVEN is not just an evening. Its an EXPIERIENCE!!!” – Club Se7ven
Yes, Club Se7en will help you in your quest to “initate” (what?) your inner soul. I was personally never aware that we possessed different levels of souls, but whatever. And I don’t know if you read this part, but the vibe there is so intense that your pores, I mean poars, will be so dilated by the Se7en Experience that they might just start to soak things in! That sentence was so WTFey that it hurt my brain. I suppose getting a glimpse at the god that is KARL WOLF on August 15 might help me satiate my inner desires. He’s that Montrealer who butchered covered Toto’s worldwide hit, Africa. Never heard that song? Put on Mix 96 – it plays three times an hour.
But Se7en isn’t the only hotspot you’ll find on Crescent. Just a little up the street, you can dance the night away at Light Ultraclub. What the fuck is an ultra club, you ask? I don’t know either. I assume it’s a club that’s been taken to the next level, that’s just really intense, really extreme. Speaking of which, Light used to be Extremes. Then it became System. How long ’til Light shuts down and becomes something else? We give it a generous three years. We would have given them eight months to a year and a half, but then we read the impressive list of celebs who’ve partied it up there: Elise Estrada (?), Dru (??) and finally, the #2 best boy band in the world (NKOTB are #1, sorry), the Backstreet Boys. I know most of this article has sounded a little sarcastic and assy, but I’d honestly love to get hammered with ex-teen heart throb & my personal fave Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter. My panties just got a bit moist thinking about it.
But sometimes you don’t wanna hit the clubs, or even the ultra clubs. Sometimes you just want a place a tiny bit more laid back, where patrons consider daily showers as being an optional thing. Those times, you can go to Thursday’s. Unfamiliar with it? Maybe this will help:
“When you think of Montreal , you think of Thursday’s. This place has gained over years a specific and well-earned reputation for the undeniable service quality and ambiance.”
I don’t know about you, but when I think of Montreal, I don’t think of Thursday’s. Images of bagels, smoke meat, strip clubs and harsh winters come to mind, but that’s about it. Thursday’s is part Hotel de la Montagne, part restaurant and part club/bar. This makes for a shitty crowd of American tourists, office parties, 5 a 7s and of course, midlife crisis-having, convertible-driving pervs. If you’re looking to get hit on by uncle Phil or get your ass grabbed by your grandfather, this is the place to be. Seriously, the crowd is old. Mel’s dad goes to Thursday’s. Come on. Oh, but don’t worry boys, there are plenty of cougars ready to pounce.
If you’re looking for good food at a quality price served by the nicest staff in town, Weinstein & Gavino’s is not that place. Trust me on this one. Melissa and I made the mistake of attempting to eat at this pretentious restaurant. Notice how I said “attempting” to eat. We really only stuffed ourselves with free bread. After waiting a good 25 minutes for a waiter that never came to our table to bring us a menu, we decided to just leave. It’s not like the place was busy either. It was 2 p.m. and the place was empty. Melissa was nice enough to leave a tip (because she’s a push over), but I didn’t leave shit. Why would I? They didn’t even bring us a damn menu.
Crescent isn’t really known for its shopping, but there are a few stores, like Parasuco. I thought it was going out of business, but then the owners decided to renovate, and ultimately throw thousands of dollars into their flagship store. So hopefully none of you threw away your Parasuco jeans just yet. It’s doubtful, but maybe over-dyed, pre-ripped, be-motherfucking-dazzled denim is coming back.
OK, I’ve been a huge bitch. Crescent isn’t all bad. It’s mainly bad, that’s fore sure, but it has a few redeeming points. Art enthusiasts will be happy to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, which intersects the street. Mad Hatter’s, a lame frat-boy hang out, can make you feel right at home when you’re the right amount of drunk. Most pubs below Ste Catherine are half decent. Men can definitely find a one night stand and ladies can begin their foray into world of gold digging.
I suggest you don’t go out of your way to end up on Crescent. If you’re visiting the city for the first time or you’re from Laval (just kidding) – Mont Royal Street, Little Italy, Avenue du Parc and of course The Main are some of the better streets & neighborhoods Montreal has to offer.