Black Safe, Dining, Drinks

Objectively Black in Montreal – Shuttlecock Boyz

For our mid-summer classic, we wanted to escape America but didn’t want to travel too far. Europe is in the midst of one the hottest heat wave in recorded history, and as for tropical locations, we’re not really beach bums. So Montréal, Quebec Canada was our winner. We rolled 4 deep with a strong crew of no-nonsense gents who will forever from this day forth be known as “The Shuttlecock Boyz” (more on that later). 

Montréal is a beautiful town with a chill vibe and Parisian sensibilities. We’ll let you know how our trip went, what the people are like, where to eat, and where (or where not) to party. Let’s get into it. 

Air Canada Flight

The flight was quick, and no-stress. (Pro-tip: At LGA Terminal B, priority pass select is complimentary for Chase Sapphire Reserve holders). Including taxi, take-off, and landing, you’re looking at about an hour and fifteen minutes all in. That’s light work. There was one small child on the flight but he wasn’t a problem. He spoke at a decibel louder than should be allowed for a child of his age only once and the homie Idris Grey was all over it:

Idris: “PUT THAT BABY ON VIBRATE!”

Customs is pretty much non-existent in Canada. Being Americans, we were prepared for hell on earth. 

Patdowns. 

Questionnaires. 

Full cell phone data uploads. 

Solitary Confinement. 

Waterboarding… 

But we got off easy. We punched a few buttons on a computer console, and proceeded to the nice girl at customs. 

Customs Girl:So. What brings you to Canada?”

OB:Well, we are here to-”

Customs Girl: “A Bachelor party. You’re here for a bachelor party. I get it” *winks*

OB:What? No. No, no, there’s no bache-”

Customs Girl: “No, its fine. You boys have a good time.”

*winks with the other eye*

OB: “…..Ok, thank you…”

DAY 1

We caught our first Uber of the trip and it was 5 mins in the car before the driver started confessing his undying love for Celine Dion. Stay Candaian, Canada.

Arriving at the hotel, our accommodations can be described as a boutique hotel, but it was the location that stood out. Seeing as how we were likely going to be out until 3:00am every night, we essentially just needed a place to sleep. We ain’t broke boys out here. We could have stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, but again, the hotel was in the perfect location. Right at the beginning of Rue Saint-Laurent; Hotel 10 is on one of the most poppin streets in the city. We got situated in our rooms and then hit the streets to officially get some drinks and start this vacation right. 

In Montreal, the winters are long and brutal, so people generally take advantage of the summer time. It seems like everyone in Montreal is in amazing shape (America, lay off the cheese fries) and the women are just flat out beautiful. It not just their physical looks either, it’s their energy as well. Everyone is walking around smiling and generally in a good mood. Coming from NYC and LA where everyone has a hustle and will only deal with you if you can help them out in some fucked up way, it was refreshing to see people just enjoying their lives. You ask us, the sexiest thing a person can do is smile. Well, that and bussdown.

Toddry: The women here are beautiful! I’m here for these bad bitches!”

Dougie: “Settle down fam, we haven’t even had a drink or anything to eat yet.”

THE Joe Dressel: Hold up. You guys came all the way here to play BADMINTON?”

Toddry: What?! No! Bad BITCHES.”

THE Joe Dressel: Ohhhhhh”

Toddry:I’m trying to serve that ShuttleCOCK!”

All: “LOLOLOLOL”

End scene

St. Laurent Blvd has an amazing art scene. It’s almost like an outdoor museum. There are galleries, street art, and murals everywhere. From what we’ve heard, new art pieces are commissioned yearly to bring new energy and culture to the community.

Going back to our comparisons about what we see in Canada vs. America, Canada doesn’t seem to have the same inhibitions or social stigmas about many parts of life. Men and Women are covered in beautiful tattoos. Sex isn’t looked at as some evil societal burden, and graffiti isn’t stashed away in dark corners of the city. It’s displayed proudly as a legitimate expressive art form.

Shaker Kitchen and Mixology – St. Laurent Blvd (henceforth known as SLB).

Lunch was dope. Shaker specializes in Cocktails and Gourmet Burgers. The selection for each were on point and we also got our first taste of poutine. The waiter was gracious enough to teach some of us a few phrases to get along during the week and also interact with the fairer sex. We should note though, that damn near everyone we spoke with has both French AND English on lock. Again, America you’re slacking.  

Reservior – Brewpub & Rooftop Bar

We chilled up here for a while. The rooftop opened at 2pm and was decorated nicely in a chill garden vibe. At this point we had a nice day drinking buzz going so the rest of the details are a little hazy to us right now.

Taverne Midway – Gay Village

For dinner, we went to Taverne Midway. Apparently, its been around since 1927 and it definitely had an old town feel. The food was solid and there was a free pool table in the back that was clutch albeit in poor condition.

TRH Bar – Bar/Dance Floor and Half-pipe?!

As we bar hopped up and down SLB, we stumbled into a divey as fuck club called TRH Bar. It had a dance floor and a quarter pipe?! The people here were more interested in their turn on the bowl than actually doing any dancing. The shit was straight up entertaining to say the least. It looked like a scene out of Ninja Turtles or the Lost Boys from Hook. Bangarang.

Tokyo Bar – Bar/Club

Another interesting (but divey) spot on SLB. The DJ was INCREDIBLE and really knew his stuff. He was hittin us from all angles with classic cut after classic cut. The crowd was moving and we probably had more fun at this place than many others. The only caveat about this spot (and most of Montreal) is that the drinking age is 18. Because of this, many bars and clubs have really young crowds. Some of these kids looked like they were seeing dance for the first time. 

DAY 2

St. ViateurBagel Shop

This place is on damn near every “must visit” list for Montreal. So we had to do it right? Maybe we just did it wrong because we just were not impressed. Again, we were all hung over so maybe we were expecting something more robust. Either way, we got to the front of the line (side note: all lines in montreal, no matter how long they are, move very quickly and efficiently) and made our order:

Bagel Bro: “How many bagel you want?”

Idris: *Looks at menu* Yeah so, we –

Bagel Bro: “My friend. How many bagel you want?”

THE Joe Dressel: Don’t rush us. You’re making us panic, dude.”

Bagel Bro: “How. Many. Bagel. You. Want?!”

Idris: “Fam, Just give us 6 random bagels with cream cheese…”

Toddry: Fuck, that was stressful. I feel like we are in an episode of Seinfeld.

Terassee William Gray – Rooftop Bar/Amazing View of Old Port

The William Grey Hotel is a 4-5 star property that has a gorgeous rooftop bar with what we deemed was the best view in all of Montreal. Its located in the Old Port and for that reason it really gives you an old paris feel. The hostesses and waitresses are lovely and friendly. The vibe was chill and we kicked it here for most of the morning while we nursed various stages of hangovers.

Fesitval International Nuits D’Afrique

Later in the afternoon we randomly stumbled upon an African/Latin music festival. We heard the conga drums from afar and couldn’t resist checking it out. When your culture calls, you answer. This completely free festival had food, amazing music, and vendor selling local art and clothing.

It was really beautiful to see people of all shades just living it up and enjoying the music. People were camped out on blankets and kids of all ages were out dancing with their parents. It was a great experience.

Joe Beef – French Restaurant

This highly rated and recommended restaurant was booked months before our trip. It was popular and thus difficult to get a reservation. Joe Beef was easily the best meal of our trip. We liken the experience to visiting Paris without going. We recommend that you get a few appetizers and share the entrees to get a full sampling of all the different flavors this restaurant has to offer. 

Philemon – Lounge

We went here to have some drinks before officially going out for the night, but the vibe was so great that we probably should have stayed here…. Like typical millennials, we wanted more than what we had, and so since we had a list of 2-3 other places to try out that night, we left and shot ourselves in the foot because none of the other places we went that night were as poppin. Bird in the hand, I guess. Lesson learned. 

Muzique

Good music. Crazy crowded. 

By the way, to the customs agent who made wild accusations about why we were in Montreal, there were waaaaaayyyyyyyy more bachelorette parties than bachelor parties in Montreal. So you need to re-evaluate your biases my dear lady.

La Voute “The Vault”Nightclub

La Voute aka “The Vault, is a nightclub that was built into an old bank vault. Cool idea, I guess. Many of the ladies we spoke to recommended that we go here to avoid the younger crowds. It was supposed to be a “real nightclub” which usually means real money. 

Dougie: Hey my man, we’ve got 4.”

Bouncer: “…”

bouncer turns around and consults some wannabe Instagram model. IG model, while smacking on a piece of gum, without even looking up from her phone whispers something to the bouncer.

….The bouncer turns back to us.

Bouncer: $800.00”

Dougie: … 

*walks away*

We re-enacted this scene about 10 different times throughout the rest of the trip. If nothing else, this was a great reminder that laughter is always the best medicine because you have to be on some SUCKA SHIT to pay $800.00 to get into a “club”.

DAY 3

Cafe Saint Barth – Cafe Bistro

Terassee William Gray – Pt. 2

We went back to this spot because we had such a great time the first go round. Since it was Saturday, there were many more people out and the whole city was ready to party. We saw some of the gents that we met in line at La Voute the night before who actually paid the “cover”. Apparently we dodged a bullet and saved $800.00 because the club was a straight sausage fest! Nothing but groups of dudes who’d been suckered. Always trust your gut people.

La Pequeno Bar – 

This was a tiny speakeasy with a true mixologist. You could honestly extend both arms and probably touch both walls. Maybe the best mojitos we’ve ever had. 

Bord’elle

Bord’elle is a “Supper Club”. Basically means you eat dinner, and then they clear out the tables and it turns into a nightclub. Supposedly there are burlesque dancers and cirque du soleil type shit modeled after The Great Gatsby. Not our bag, but it was highly recommended, “you see, old sport?”

The catch is, if you want to stay for the club, you’ve got to drop $800.00 on bottle service for the night. We had a prior reservation but cancelled because the food is supposed to be trash. I know a hustle when I see one, so we cancelled the rez.

We dropped by later in the night to see what the energy was looking like. The crowd was sexy and it looked like the place to be, so we went to the doorman and had a quick convo.

Dougie: “Hey my guy, we were here earlier with a reservation. Can you get the 4 of us in?”

Bouncer: “4 guys. $600.00”

Dougie: -_-

People, there may be some suckas out there, but we ain’t them. I don’t care where you are in life or what your level of income is …DO NOT PAY $800.00 TO GET INTO A ROOM.

Also, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” 

Heat

BLVD44

This club is attached to Hotel 10 and since we were guests, there’d be no cover and no hassle. Seems like it would have been fun. 2 floors of Hip-Hop with a local famous DJ on the 1s and 2s…But we were exhausted and flights were early so we just kicked it for the rest of the trip.

Overall, we’d highly recommend Montreal. The people are nice, laid back, and no drama. Sure, the nightlife is a hustle if you want to do the fuckboy shit but there are way too many options to have a miserable night. There are a ton of different bars, clubs, lounges, and vibes. You can’t always look things up online, and you shouldn’t just take recommendations either. Feel it out and figure out what YOUR comfort zone will allow for. Chances are there is a scene that’s perfect for you. Figure things out for yourself and just go with the flow.


Epilogue: When we arrived at the airport, we were surprised to find out that 3 out of the 4 of us had the same AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage. We honestly can’t stress to you how sturdy, durable, compact, and affordable this luggage is. Why would you drop $225.00 on Away luggage that has the same utility when you could pay $49.99 for something that will be reliable all over the world? The 20″ luggage fits perfectly in an overhead and is the perfect size for a quick 3-day weekend. Let’s shop smart people. Save that $175.00 on something that you really want.

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage – $49.99

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Black Safe

Objectively Black does South America – Pt. 2

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the second part of our South America trip in Cartagena de Indias more commonly known as ‘Cartagena’ Colombia. When most of us hear Colombia, we immediately think about “Narcos”. And while that show is one of the best series that Netflix has ever produced, we knew that the show was not at all an accurate representation of the current state of Colombia. Still, we made sure to do our research before we went. But we found out it was that Cartegena is very safe and makes for a great stop during your trip across South America. There are no special visas required for either Peru or Columbia and although it helps to speak espanol, many of the local people speak English.

Once again we took Avianca Airlines into Columbia. Now I don’t know if this is normal for flying into Columbia from Peru or if this was just a rare occurrence, but our flight was turbulent. I’m pretty sure the entire plane was making their peace with God at a certain point. Thankfully we made it to our first stop in Cali. We had a quick layover where we enjoyed a hamburger made with actual ham. They also provided a pre-mixed mayonnaise and ketchup condiment usually in the States you have to make that by yourself. We appreciate that touch.

The very first thing we noticed was how HOT it was. When we left Peru it was 36 degrees. We were wearing coats, but just a few hours later we were in 90-degree weather. Our next goal was to find a cab. And to answer your question, yes Uber works down here. Our Uber driver showed up in a completely tinted out Honda Civic with a ridiculous spoiler, Tokyo Drift style. At that moment we looked at each other and questioned whether or not we should enter this car. We’ve heard some horror stories about taxis and even Uber’s so so we were jokingly a little weary. Nevertheless, we are men. So without question, we got in that car wondering if we would ever see the states again. Needless to say, our Uber driver was awesome and gave our Spanish-speaking friend some tips about where to the best food was, the tourist locations, and even some unsolicited tips on picking the right hooker… I swear it was unsolicited. Having been in South America for several days now, driving through another city was no big deal. I mean seriously, at this point we felt like locals. I was even speaking some Spanish via osmosis. I guess that if I had stayed or a good month or so, I’d be fluent in the language.

Anyway, after the two flights from Peru, we were pretty exhausted so when we got to our hotel within the walled city. (Hotel Casa de la Trinidad) Note: Make sure that when you do travel to Cartegena you stay in the walled city. We did wander out by mistake, nothing happened, but you want to stay within the confines. It’s just safer. We crashed for a few hours and by the time we got up, it was night time in Cartegena so we began to explore the city. When you are within the walled City you can’t go wrong. Our hotel room was right next to several restaurants and Nightclubs in the “Old Town” and we felt safe in every spot. We passed by a spot called Restaurante Coroncoro and decided to have some food before we drank. The carne asada hit and become our dish of choice for the remainder of the trip. Once we had eaten we decided to walk avoid for a bit and get a feel for the vibe. The streets were packed with tourists and locals. Salsa music was blasting through seemingly every doorway. It seemed like everyone in the city was partying. The very first spot we hit was a small bar called the “Tipsy deer”. We grabbed a few ‘cervezas’ and had a nice conversation with the 2 bartenders there. If you ever find your way to the tipsy deer, tell them that we sent you. We also noticed a club across the street called Cafe Havana. We heard the live music playing while we passed by and asked about the cover which was 30k Columbian with is about $10. We decided that we would come back on a different night since the band was already in full swing and we didn’t want to miss any of the show.

So we continued our night and headed towards ‘Plaza de los Coches’. Fair warning, if you come here at night time you will be surrounded by escorts and savages trying to broker deals. Seriously it was like wall street up in there. Needless to say, we don’t pay for it. Sex is better free(ish) yall know what I mean? So we continued. I’m kind of angry at myself for not taking more pictures of the nightlife but we didn’t want to stick even further out. Pulling out my phone while the block is lit just never occurred to me. The streets taught us better than that. But the streets were really packed and so were the clubs. There were lines to get into a few of them and in everyone, the music was hittin’ and the drinks were cheap (by our standards) The dollar is strong yall. Thanks, Trump! One of the clubs that stuck out was Alquimico Bar. If there is one thing regarding the nightlife in Cartegena you need to trust me on, its this place. The drink menu was large and the staff was awesome and skilled. There are 3 levels in the bar. The ground and 2nd level play a combination of hip hop and dance music, while the top-level rooftop plays a mix of Spanish, Brazilian, and even African music. It was easy mingling with the people out there. Everyone was easy going, and positive. You could sense the love out there for real. Just be sure to ask any girl you hit on if she’s an escort before you fall for her. Learn from our mistakes. We hopped around several different bars the first night. Some had covers but the bouncers were nice enough to let 1 person in your crew check the place out before you paid to see if it was packed enough for your liking. We got back to our hotel that night feeling pretty excited about the rest of the trip.

The next day in Objectively Black fashion, we decided to have a workout and walk around Cartagena. The city is beautiful. The streets are lined with colorful colonial-style buildings. There are beautiful murals painted all across the city and plenty of historic statues and squares to visit. The markets are worth walking through as well. Even for those of you who hate shopping like me, you’ll want to pick up some souvenirs. The markets offer some authentic handmade crafts. One of the many spots we explored was Castillo San Felipe de Barajas / Fortress of San Felipe. Now did we mention the heat? The day we decided to summit this fortress it was well into the 90s and humid as all fuck. Still, we climbed. Our short trip to Peru may have come in handy, because next to the climbing that we did in Peru, climbing this castle was nothing. Next, we hit La Paletteria a Popsicle dessert shop in the middle of the old town. There are several different flavors divided by ‘base’ yogurt, water or cream. On a hot day of walking, one of these really hits the spot.

By chance, we were in Columbia during Copa America and we were able to catch the Columbia game against Argentina. We watched the game at Mister Babilla, a night club that was showing the game on several projectors in the venue. As you would expect the atmosphere inside was crazy. Futbol is bigger than religion out there so we were very lucky to be in Columbia during this even. This ranked up there with the most authentic experiences we had in the city. We just got lucky, but if you can, try planning your trip around a similar event to experience futbol in South America.

One of the most important things for us to do what to see an authentic live salsa band in Columbia. And to do that we went right back to Cafe Havana. If you remember we stopped by earlier in our trip but decided that it would be best to arrive early one night. And we were right. We arrived at Cafe Havana around 10 pm. By that point, most of the tables had already been taken. Luckily we found a table right next to the stage which was also close to the bar. The band played for about an hour and needless to say they were amazing. The entire place was lit. And this was my favorite part of the trip. It wasn’t even close.

South America has a million different things to offer. If you have the opportunity I will suggest taking way more than just two weeks to travel the continent. But if you do just have a few days to travel you could do much worse than Peru and Colombia. Both offer vastly different experiences yet they’re only hours apart. Listen, Objectively Black is traveling a lot this year. If you want to stay up-to-date on what we’re doing and get a good idea of what these different places have to offer, keep following. And also let us know what you think. Where do you want us to travel to next?

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