Read, Drink and Be Merry

Good books aren’t hard to find — one merely needs to know how, and where, to look. Montreal, a Canadian cultural hub with urban rent rates that actually accommodate the starving artist, offers burgeoning and established writers many options to showcase their talent. In turn, these events allow for relaxing-yet-enlightening evenings that draw crowds ranging from twenty-something hopefuls to well-to-do elder professionals. Here are three sporadic hotspots where the minds and books are open, and the latter are available for purchase.

Sparrow
A cozy and hip restaurant famed for its brilliant brunch menu, Sparrow hosts pilot reading events on the last Sunday of every month in conjunction with the staff of the Montreal-based Matrix magazine. The pilots provide a unique opportunity for lit-savvy folk to have their cake and eat it, allowing for both established and up-and-coming authors to participate. This cocktail of readers has recently seen attendees enjoy the opportunity to mix with popular names such as Christian Bök and Sina Queyras. 5322 St. Laurent Blvd., 514-690-3964.

Café thEATre
A small bistro located in Montreal’s downtown core, Café thEATre’s ambience promotes intimacy. While the owners frequently support creative folk including musicians and visual artists, their space is equally exceptional for catering to poets and novelists. The café’s menu boasts salads and sandwiches with added flair; we recommend the club with cranberry and avocado. Even better, thEATre’s eats are relatively cheap, so save room for dessert. 1832 St. Catherine Ouest, 514-564-4440.

Les Trois Minots
Located on the border between trendy neighbourhoods Mile-End and the Plateau, Les Trois Minots reels in undergraduates and young professionals alike. When the Latin quarter venue isn’t hosting singer-songwriter acts, they also host magazine launches — most recently, an anthology dubbed Headlight. If you’re looking for a pint or two, coupled with a few readings and a folk performance if you’re lucky, Les Trois Minots is the place to be. 3812 St. Laurent Blvd., 514-844-8543.

BONUS: Expozine
It’s always good to have something to look forward to. Église Saint-Enfant Jésus is the host of Expozine, Montreal’s annual small press fair that invites 300 publishers of books, comics, zines, and posters to showcase their latest and greatest. Though refreshments and goodies may be a bit sparse, Expozine satisfies a hunger of another kind — if you’re looking for quirky and unorthodox publications, this is the event to mark off on your calendar. While the 2011 dates have yet to be released, it usually takes place mid-autumn. 5035 St. Dominique.

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Image courtesy of Jody Art.

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