The Link’s Best of: Downtown, Mile-End, and The Plateau
Eva B // 2015 St. Laurent Blvd.
Without a doubt, the multistory Eva B takes the cake as the most unique thrift shop on the Main. Dusty, packed and oh-so-much-fun, it operates as both a quaint coffee shop and a used clothes megastore. Enjoy the iced tea in the summer or hot apple cider on the colder days., then lose your shit as you navigate the multi-story thrift shop. First floor is seasonal items, curated to perfection. Upper floor features a massive selection of dresses, pants, skirts, tops and leggings—American Apparel dance pants for $5, holla!
Le Magasin du Chaînon // 4375 St. Laurent Blvd.
Furnishing your apartment or dorm this fall? Hit up Le Chainon for some quirky house digs. Couches, tables, shelves and vintage chests are just some of the things you can find here. Most pieces are reasonably priced, ranging from $15 to $50. There’s equally great selection upstairs of cups, utensils, mixing bowls and beyond. The clothes are meh, but you can feel good shopping there knowing that all the proceeds go to women in need!
Segal’s // 4001 St. Laurent Blvd.
If you shop at franchised grocery stores, be prepared to pay $30 to $50 per bag of food, depending on how you shop. At Segal’s Market though, you can count on paying about those prices for all of your groceries—and you’ll find the quality pantry items like granola, soymilk, nuts, olives, cheese, and maple syrup for super cheap. Be warned though: Segal’s lacks the glamour—or even the basic lighting—that IGA or Metro provide. But hey, it’s an experience, okay?
Boulangerie Snowdon // 7385 Harley Ave.
You know all of those places all over town that have Snowdon Bakery baked goods in them? This is where they’re from, and it’s right across the tracks from Loyola campus. Sure, it might look like a semi-abandoned warehouse on the outside, what with the windowlessness and the train tracks and the road that has more potholes than not-holes—but go inside and check out the freshest Snowdon baked goods available in Montreal. And at non marked-up prices, no less. Also you get to peek into the factory floor from the little storefront, and see the magic at work. I almost forgot: you can get sandwiches too.
LPVR // Loyola PS Building Room 141
Le Petit Vélo Rouge isn’t so much a bike shop as it is a bike school. Tucked into room 141 of the more-or-less unknown PS Building on Loyola Campus, the volunteers of this nonprofit will teach you how to do all the stuff you need to do to your bike yourself. Plus, there’s workshops for you to work on skills that you might not get from fixing the odd flat tire or tightening a chain. But no matter if you don’t know the difference between a cone wrench and an ice cream cone, you’re always welcome at LPVR. And if you’re looking to get some volunteer hours in, LPVR is on the lookout for those, too.
Right to Move // Behind The Hall Building
The much bigger sister of Le Petit Vélo Rouge, Right To Move is a do-it-yourself hub in the basement of a building in the asphalt yard behind the Hall building. It smells like machines and learning. Bike parts and tools hang from every place available to hang bike parts and tools from. The workstations are close together, all the better to chat with your neighbor as you both get your hands filthy fixing your own bikes instead of spending money. Generously stocked with material and always manned by knowledgeable volunteers, RTM’s $20 yearly membership will be the best bike-related investment you make all term.
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly // 211 Bernard St. West
A bit on the small side, but nevertheless fun and interesting, Drawn and Quarterly is a top notch shop. Not limited to just graphic novels—of which they have many—but also written works, some zines worth flipping through, and a whole lot more. With a chill and nostalgic atmosphere, D&Q is also home to a slew of events like poetry readings, writing workshops, and book signings. Also check out Free Comic Book Day!
Crossover Comics // 3560 Notre-Dame St. W.
Celebrating their fourth anniversary this October, Crossover has been busy. Between release parties, book clubs, and game nights, the store never sees a dull moment. The staff is welcoming and always around to answer questions, too. It’s a really good place to pick up comics, graphic novels, and maybe some shirts if you’re into fandom gear.
Capitaine Quebec // 1837 Ste. Catherine St.
Conveniently nestled right by Concordia’s downtown campus, this shop has loads of wide open space with a whole lot of stuff to look at. Comic books, toys, clothes, accessories, trading cards, manga—it’s there. The manager, Myles, might always seems busy, but he usually makes time to talk to his regulars.
Green Panther // 2153 Mackay St.
Right next to the Hall building downtown, Green Panther is, like, seriously one of the best restaurants in the city when it comes to vegan/veggie stuff. Or just food stuff in general. It’s got a food truck too, if that matters to you. But yeah there’re so many options. It’s awesome. It’s sick. Sick falafel, sick sauces, sick pita bread, sick smoothies, sick desserts, sick salads, and a sick little window seat where you have to take off your shoes and sort of scrunch up and get cozy. Which is fine, because it’s a really cozy restaurant—what’s cozier than drinking water out of old wine bottles? I’ll tell you: drinking water out of old wine bottles AND eating good food. By a window.
Aux Vivres // 4631 St. Laurent Blvd.
Started by a lady named Marie-Pierre Michaud on St. Dominique St., Aux Vivres has gone through several transformations—and locations—over the years. From grassroots beginnings to franchised veganism, the restaurant has become mega-popular, expanding its space and opening a grocery-style boutique next door—and selling their products all over the city. Stay for the delicious vegan food, but don’t stay too long. The restaurant has a lot of tables but even more turnover. To try: veggie lox in chapati, the coconut bacon, and the chocolate cake. And, of course, the Dragon Bowl.
ChuChai // 4088 St. Denis St.
ChuChai is a vegetarian dream. It’s not really an everyday place, but a special spot for birthday dinners, post-exam celebrations, or for when you need to treat yourself. Indulge in gourmet mock meats and seafood dishes, including fake duck, green curried shrimp—to die for—and even barbeque beef balls. Bring your carnivore friends here and they might not even spot—or taste—the difference.
Café Résonance // 5175 Parc Ave.
In the Mile End on Parc Ave., Résonance is a great spot to get your study on while enjoying a great vegan meal. Their rustic ambiance and low-maintenance feel makes it a great spot to work on your laptop, catch up with friends, or enjoy their regularly-scheduled band events. Smoothies, their colossal chili, and the seitan sammies are on the top of the list.
CHILL COFFEE SHOPS:
Kafein // 1429 Bishop St.
It’s a cafe. It’s a tea-haven. It’s a bar. It’s a jazz joint. It’s a trivia spot. It’s a poetry stage. It’s an art gallery. It’s got chairs—inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs. It’s got couches. It’s got unreal sandwiches with gourmet innards like thick smoked salmon or primo goat cheese. Granola smoothies? You bet. Cookies baked fresh all day long, too. Did I mention the couches? Plus, it’s literally a minute from whatever class you’re in downtown. And, maybe best of all, it carries The Link. Go. Order a mocha. Say I sent you. Enjoy.
Melk // 5612 Monkland Ave.
How to get great coffee and mad pastries on Monkland in four easy steps: first, leave Loyola campus. Then, get on one of the many buses that will take you up towards Monkland. Then, get off around Melk, and go in. Order a coffee and mad pastries. Eat them. You’re welcome.
Laika // 4040 St. Laurent Blvd.
If you like DJs with your coffee, Laika is the place to be. A lounge-style setting but without the expeezy upscale prices, Laika offers comfortable seating, good grub and a killer night scene. Work on your projects here with a cuppa, then dance off the buzz if you’re there during their dark hours.
AntiCafé // 294 Ste. Catherine St.
Feeling those anticapitalist vibes one morning? Sick of Starbucks being five or more bucks? Then, AntiCafé is for you. Self-serve coffee, tea, biscuits, pretzels and other little snacks are at your unlimited disposal at the community-orientated cafe. Pay for the time you visit—$3 for the first hour, and $2 for each after that. Relax on the comfy couches, or study away while overlooking Place des Arts.