Mile Ex Montreal: 15 Reasons Why You Should Go…Now!
There’s something bittersweet about witnessing the development of an emerging neighbourhood. Too often, we’re only privy to our city’s secret spots once they’re out of the bag and crowded, or we want to hold on to them before they are. Mile Ex is currently in the midst of its transformation, and still has that twinge of excitement and mystery to it. Officially called the “Alexandra-Marconi” district, Mile Ex spans from Parc Avenue to Clark Street, between Jean-Talon and the train tracks. It’s a cozy, primarily residential neighbourhood that’s been built up from an austere industrial area by its dedicated residents, yet a new wave of development is beginning to obscure its humble roots.
Take a look at the list below to find out why you should go be part of the buzz, or check out some more Exciting Things to Do all over town.
1. Bar Alexandraplatz
Nestled between a semi-vacant parking lot and one of Mile Ex’s emblematic industrial buildings, Bar Alexandraplatz is like a backyard party you can show up to without invitation, every single (summer) day. With its garage door entrance, cash only policy, lack of a phone number, and the fact that it opens only for what their website calls the “beautiful season,” the homegrown vibe at Alexandraplatz is as uncomplicated as getting 5 à 7 drinks and hanging out with your buddies should be. Plus, a few times a month, food trucks gather around the Berlin-style beer garden, turning the energy from a backyard, to a full-scale block party!
6731 Esplanade Ave. | alexandraplatzbar.com
A restaurant that describes itself as serving food that is like “wood, rock, and wind,” Manitoba is a sort of oasis: a culinary return to nature that sits in stark contrast to the concrete dwellings that surround it. Yet, the concept of Manitoba is an ode to simplicity, a return to basics that fits right in with the changing culture of the neighbourhood. Serving all fresh, local ingredients and compelling dishes you won’t find anywhere else, this spot is becoming an increasingly popular attraction of Mile Ex, slowly chipping away at its “industrial only” status.
271 St-Zotique W. | restaurantmanitoba.com
3. Parc des Gorilles
Speaking of returning to nature, Parc des Gorilles is a DIY green space that’s soon to bring new life to the neighbourhood. The project has been in the works for several years thanks to a strong community incentive to convert a historic railway route into a green, neighbourhood-friendly space. After a series of disputes between residents, the Borough, and the land’s previous owners, a plan for the park finally has been approved this spring. With the tech industry starting to move into the area, its more important now than ever for residents of the formerly industrial neighbourhood to have a place to call their own. Keep an eye out for movement on the lot as the summer progresses, and maybe lend a hand, too, as the park will be both restored and managed by and for community members.
Between the intersections of Beaubien & St-Urbain / St-Zotique & Esplanade | parcdesgorilles.net
Following an unexpected theme you may soon begin to pick up on in these recommendations: 180g is a unique combination of two distinct operations, tucked away in an industrial loading bay. Both a cafe and record store, the vibe at 180g is cozy and cool. Good music is always spinning on their record player making you feel warm and welcome as you lunch on delicious yet affordable eats or just sip your coffee. Make sure to also spend some time digging through their expertly curated record selection, you’re sure to find some rare gems, underground electronic beats, or vintage hip-hop records, depending on what you’re seeking.
5866 Lorimier Ave| facebook.com/le180g
5. Never Apart
As can be expected from an up-and-coming Montreal neighbourhood, Mile Ex has become a hub for activism and the arts. One of the drivers of this movement is Never Apart, a non-profit organization that stands for “Change Through Spirit & Culture.” Driven by creativity and a desire to educate the public on equality, the environment and conscious living, they forge all forms of artistic collaboration. The centre is an inclusive space that brings together community members through social gatherings, music, art exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops, special events, and more. These moments of unity and are the perfect opportunity to enact positive change for the future, and get inspired by people’s passion and originality along the way.
7049 Rue St-Urbain | neverapart.com
6. Bar Le Ritz PDB
PDB stands for “Punks Don’t Bend” but if Bar Le Ritz is any example, they sure do dance. There’s an exciting event going on at the queer-friendly and wheelchair accessible venue on almost any given night. Between live musical acts, DJs, and even drag performers, the lineup is varied and exciting. You can hear experimental Montreal-grown sounds one night and then return and dance to global pop anthems the next. If you’re looking to see how Mile Ex’s community-driven ethos translates to the nightlife, this is truly the place to do it.
179 Rue Jean-Talon O | barleritzpdb.com
7. Café Guerrero
Located inside the Esplanade Loft Project building, a structure’s that’s iconic to the neighbourhood, is Cafe Guerrero. The mission of this humble spot is simple: delicious, affordable, healthy food for everyone. The owner and chef refers to Guerrero as “the shop,” implying that each sandwich you’ll eat here is a labour of love. In fact, the menu itself changes daily, a sure sign of a passionate chef.
6750 Esplanade Ave. | cafe-guerrero.com
8. Dépanneur Le Pick-Up
Perhaps the most famous “dépanneur” in the city, Le Pick-Up mirrors the intimacy of simply stepping in to your neighbour’s private hangout, but you’ll find yourself in a half restaurant, half convenience store instead. The combination may sound strange, but thats’s exactly what gives Le Pick-up its character. The “couple of tables strewn around a store” vibe means you’ll likely end up at the diner-style bar, wedged between a zine stand, some mismatched dishes, and other hungry customers… but what keeps people coming back is, of course, the delicious food. Their halloumi sandwich is internet famous, their pulled pork feeds as many artists as mechanics, and with the choice of cheddar or Kraft for your cheeseburger, these folks respect the different moods of the hungry heart.
7032 Waverly | depanneurlepickup.com
Beer lovers rejoice: you can rely on wildly popular Harricana to fill all of the area’s mandatory craft beer needs. The microbrewery has become a cornerstone of the neighbourhood since it opened in 2015, bringing together people of all ages day in and day out with its affordable prices and warm, communal energy. Their unique selection of beers, rotating guest tap, and reliably enjoyable food menu also mean that its been a key player in bringing people from other parts of the city to the area. Plus, the kitchen’s open until 2 am, too, so let the good times keep on rolling!
95 Jean-Talon W. | brasserieharricana.com
Like any good neighbourhood, the Barber Shop Revival is alive and well in Mile Ex. With at least five different types of wood as part of its decor, and shelves showcasing the finest products in pretty vintage packages, Emporium exudes an old-timey, cozy basement vibe. It’s one of the chief leaders in the neighbourhood’s laid back aesthetic. Their “Lineup – Espresso” combo is a walk-in only experience that will leave you believing you truly are in your friend’s kitschy basement shop: a quick neck shave and espresso are just enough for your barber to welcome you and send you off with an uplifting caffeine buzz.
283 St-Zotique W. | emporiumbarber.com
11. Dinette Triple Crown
Located at Clark and St-Zotique, this popular joint is right on the edge of the Mile Ex border and its visibility to the “outside world” acts as an invitation to this budding neighbourhood. If the cozy, homegrown, intimate theme of Mile Ex venues wasn’t obvious yet, Dinette Triple Crown surely makes it so. The Southern food restaurant specializes in fried chicken, mac & cheese, and other comforting eats. The real treat, though, are their picnic baskets. They’ll pack your meal in one to eat across the street in Little Italy Park. You can even take some of their products home in a mason jar, pushing the boundaries of what a restaurant can be even further.
6704 Clark | dinettetriplecrown.com
12. Eastern Bloc
Another industrial space dedicated to showcasing creativity, Eastern Bloc promotes digital art. Through exhibits, vernissages, performances, and meetings they explore the boundaries and intersections of art, science and technology. Plus, with internationally renowned artists and budding local talent both on the roster, the programming is rich and eclectic through this exchange. Come check out the gallery as they continue to explore modes of production, facilitate audience participation and support emerging talent – you’ll find both moments for quiet reflection or sensorially charged dance parties, depending on the day.
7240 Clark | easternbloc.ca
13. Notre Dame des Quilles
You’ll find this other local nightlife favourite at Beaubien and St-Dominique just steps outside the heart of Mile Ex. The cleverly named bar revives the idea of drinking and bowling, and with its Prohibition era aesthetic, dance parties, DJ events and karaoke nights, you might find yourself grooving on the lanes when the time comes. Plus, its usual hipster crowd (a staple at most Mile Ex venues), LGBTQ events, affordable drinks and laid-back decor mean the venue is an inviting space for anyone. And finally, one last tip: there’s pizza in the back!
32 Beaubien E. | facebook.com/notredamedesquilles
15. Le Mile-Ex Restaurant
Le Mile-Ex is the small, cozy, fine food eatery that may just be the reason behind the neighbourhood’s monicker. The restaurant has become a popular spot for food-fanatics from not only Montreal, but from all over. (A New York Times review never hurts.) The joint is something of an ode to the modernization of street food, offering brioche hot dogs, seafood mac and cheese, and a pop up ice cream shop in the summer. Reflecting the growing neighbourhood, you can enjoy these elevated dishes while seated under hanging bare lightbulbs at communal tables, all characteristic of Mile Ex’s unique energy.
6631 Rue Jeanne-Mance | mileex.ca
Now that you’re practically a Mile Ex local, it’s time to explore some more exciting neighbourhoods nearby! Head over to…