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Easy living in NDG
Article mis en ligne le mercredi 22 juin 2011

 
Photo: Marie Cicchini

It’s summertime and, as the Gershwin jazz standard goes, the living is easy. Nowhere is this truer than in NDG with its many restaurant and bar terrasses where you can pull up a chair and unwind with a cold one or a café au lait, or enjoy a leisurely meal under a patio umbrella.

There are terrasses everywhere, some of them consisting of only a couple of tables for a few patrons. Others have many tables and can accommodate groups. Some are little more than the size of porches and are tucked away in obscure corners of the neighborhood, making the perfect getaway for book lovers and daydreamers. The trendy terrasses on the main drags are often large and teeming with noisy pub crawlers, especially after hours.

By far, Sherbrooke Street and Monkland Avenue boast the greatest number of terrasses. Restaurants and bars in Monkland Village, as it is popularly known, cater more to the night and weekend bistro crowd from all over Montreal. Sherbrooke, stretching all the way from Westmount to Montreal West, is convenient for dining out and happy hour all week long for both the locals and passers-by.

Over the years there have been some complaints from NDG residents to the borough council about noise and traffic problems on and around Monkland. But, when the nice weather arrives, local pedestrians and out-of-area “partyholics” seem to enjoy peaceful coexistence on the strip.
Rosemary Geist is typical of many NDGers who prefer the relaxed pace of NDG’s terrasse scene to the hype downtown. She was cooling off one early evening on the terrasse at La Louisiane, a local resto-bar located at the corner of Sherbrooke and Regent, specializing in Cajun and Creole cuisine. “This is just such a lovely place. You can come here on a moment’s notice,” she said.

She especially appreciates the fact that NDG is a “real community.” Her dinner companions agreed, not least of all her goldendoodle Pino, who was enjoying the pet-friendly atmosphere and offering a paw to anyone who would rub his belly.

Farther west, at the corner of Old Orchard, several students were studying at the Shaika Café terrasse. This local artistic hub also doubles as the Galerie V and hosts everything from vernissages to poetry readings, as well as musical performances.

Amber Hunter, a political science student, said that she likes it because the soundtrack rocks. “I jog, work out, shower, and come here,” she said. There are also a number of lesser-known spots to hang out in the ‘hood, especially around the Sherbrooke/Claremont axis.

The Liquid Lounge is one such place. This laid-back bar attracts an older, more mature crowd. Devan Roberge said that he likes to go there for a beer after work because there’s “no gambling, no slot machines.”

So, there are no excuses. Get out your shades and put your 45 on, to coin a phrase from another song by Sheryl Crow.

[ Deborah Rankin ]





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