If Montréal is Wonderland – as I so motion that it is, see art, the after hours clubs are none other than the Mad Hatter’s tea party. A lot of cities (see: Manhattan) have rules about when clubs and bars have to close up shop for the night – and while these rules are often broken (again, see: Manhattan) the laws certainly limit the establishments that can be in full swing @ 5 am. Montréal, bless its quebecois soul, has no such rules (although they do have that absurd no alcohol sales after 11 pm rule – but that’s a rant for another post,) and the (in)famous after hours clubs Stereo and Circus take full advantage.
Much like tea chez le Hatter Fou, after hours clubs make the opposite of sense, in the absolute best way possible. They open up when everything else closes down (3 am) and close around the time the productive members of our society typically start the day. Let me tell you, nothing makes you question your life choices quite like stumbling out of club at 9 am, smudged mascara and all, to be nearly being run over by someone out for their morning jog.
Like in Wonderland, the only rules in place are those that don’t make sense. While the laws governing drug use in the outer world don’t seem to apply within the doors of the club, gum use is strictly prohibited. Any packets of chewing gum found after your pat down at the door will be immediately confiscated by the bouncer along with a suspicious glare. Honestly. I asked the WHY and they just stared at me in utter shock, not speaking until I just silently crept away.
Everyone inside is completely bonkers, either incredibly friendly or lost in their own world. Feel free be dancin on your own or just lie on a couch and like, look at the LIGHTS. I promise you, no one will care, judge you, or even notice unless they plan to join you.
Circus is my personal fave because of the swings. Giant wooden boards suspended from the ceiling by bungee cords aka the most fun you’ll ever have. Every time I go here I spend an hour MINIMUM on the swings by myself and I have never regretted anything less.
Circus is bigger than Stereo to accommodate all the jungle gym infrastructure, which is actually a con in my opinion – when the night turns to early morning and people start to leave, all the empty space is kinda creepy. But you can probably get away with smoking a cig in the corner if thats your jam without some terrifying security guard pouncing on you.
Also, the people who run Circus aren’t as uhhhh formidable as those in charge of Stereo – more on that later – so sometimes they get casually raided by the police. It’s a TRIP let me tell you, when you’re dancing around and they roll in and no one even BLINKS. My new best friend, who I’d just met in the club bathroom, literally started dancing on one of the officers. They are circled menacingly for 15 minutes, arrested a couple people, and then left. And everyone thought it was HILARIOUS how freaked I was. Canada’s so weird man.
There are also bath tubs available if you want to cuddle with strangers.
Stereo’s, like, more ~aesthetic~ than Circus. One big dance floor with an overlooking level. They’ve got cool floating lights and the best staff, who I am both proud and embarrassed to say know me by name (#college amiright?!)
Stereo is run by the mob. Not touching that fact with a ten foot pole, even though I doubt they are reading my blog.
The major downside to Stereo is the location. It’s terrifying, even the door men will not leave the safety of the front entrance. A known drug trafficking area is full of screaming people no matter what time you leave. To make matters worse, the street is closed off thx to some of Montreal’s endless construction, so you will have to walk to the end of the block to catch your Uber. Do NOT do this solo.
After hours are a weird little cult. Expect to run into the 50 year old man who owns your corner dep or happen upon a candlelit vigil and be asked to join. But stay smart and open and you’ll have some unbeatable experiences.