Where is a Montreal gay guy to go if he’s grown tired of the Village? Sometimes you’re just not into the scene at the club or the afterhours. Sometimes you just want to go and meet some like-minded individuals and either see a show, sit around and have a drink, or maybe dance a little bit — and you don’t want to make the trip down to the Village.
This is where Julien de Repentigny, Antoine Bedard and Francois Guimond decided to do something to fill this void in the Montreal scene. Forming a group called L’Amour à 3 they created a night called Mec Plus Ultra. The first night was held on Nov 30 and was a rousing success with approximately 300 attendees — proving that there was clearly a desire for something new.
Montreal does have gay and queer options outside the Village, such as Faggity Ass Fridays and Meow Mix, and weeks such as QueerReaction or Perves/Cite, but these nights did not appeal to de Repentigny and his friends. “[These nights] are more radical and we’re looking for something more professional/career-oriented, there wasn’t anything geared towards young professionals that aren’t into that Village vibe with house music and such and we go to a lot of indie rock shows and things like that,” says de Repentigny. “There wasn’t something like that for gay people and that’s what we were aiming for [with this new night].”
There were some challenges associated with choosing an appropriate venue somewhere on the Plateau. Despite the openness of Montreal it was hard to find a venue because many owners were worried that having a gay night would affect their clientele. Without revealing too much about their future plans, de Repentigny mentions that one of the most important considerations for a venue was one that had a stage and screens and a dance floor, which was difficult to find. The Belmont turned out to be a perfect fit, and as de Repentigny adds, “it’s funny because the Belmont is one of the straightest bars ever! But they were really into it and supportive!”
The success of the first night has unleashed some big plans from the L’Amour à 3 group. “A lot of people asked us to make it weekly — but not right away, maybe in the future although it will probably happen twice a month soon enough.” Other future plans include having live bands and guest DJs, and having a different theme every month.
Promotion was easy. “Mostly we just went online and put some fliers around town and it just…. promoted itself. A lot of people said at the night itself that they heard about the night on Gay411 or Facebook.”
The night was created to fulfil something they found lacking Montreal’s gay nightlife. “We’re not making a lot of money with this right now, we’re just giving our time,” says de Repentigny. “We’re doing it for fun and to give back to the community in a way. A lot of people had thought about this idea but we’re the first to make it happen.”
And the scene of wall-to-wall men at the first night, all crowded into a pub on St Laurent and Mont Royal demonstrates the demand for gay events outside the Village.