MONTRÉAL AFTER HOURS: Canada gets crazy after dark

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. 

Actual footage me leaving Circus last weekend.

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

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.

Have u tho

Stereo

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.

Weird Drugs Worldwide: Hippy Crack in Korea

In preperation for my latest adventure, in none other than Vietnam, I have been doing as much research as possible on Asia, and all the wonderful and crazy things I might come across. Of course, I checked out a pile of books from my local library that promised the BEST of Asia. But in my personal experience, these tourist guidebooks, while valuable for finding some of the must see spots in your destination, do not include many of the more fantastic and fascinating, but lesser know elements of the culture. Often times, the only way to find the best spots to have a good time are to gather recommendations from old friends who’ve already been and new friends you meet upon arrival.

I first became obsessed with the idea of going to Asia after my brother regaled me with tales of his own trip. I was living in NYC at the time, and he (being much cooler than me) was touring Asia with his girlfriend. When he landed in JFK after his trip, he crashed at my apartment and shared stories and photos that made me fall in love with the idea of following in his footsteps.

One of the best stories he told me was about “nos balloons,” which are a phenomenon at Korean nightclubs. Colorful balloons filled with laughing gas are super popular for the instant little buzz they give. If you’ve ever gotten a cavity filled at the dentist, or like, did whip-its from a whip cream canister in middle school (we don’t judge here), you know the feeling: short burst of euphoria, light headedness, and hilarity – hence the colloquial Western term, “laughing gas.”

This drug is also called “hippy crack” in some cultures which is hilarious, and a term I now plan on casually dropping constantly. @ me if you have any experience with this ridiculousness or any other weird drugs abroad worth looking into.

Leave Your Mark in Budapest: For Sale Pub

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This small, cozy pub is wallpapered in notes that guests pinned up. Each table has pencils and paper so customers can write whatever they want and pin in to the wall to leave their mark in this amazing city.  Seriously – I put a note up two years ago, and my friend told me he saw it this week.


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Me and my friend Alex


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Here’s the note I pinned up with my four closets friends in Budapest- and it’s still there! “Shot’s…it’s not optional.” was our group motto, which is super embarrassing but I stand by it.