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Café Utopik

Posted by Steve in Montreal + Places on 20/Jan/2007
A staggering number of chain cafes and coffee shops in Montreal haven't yet cornered the market on favoured hangouts. We Montrealers enjoy our home-grown locales. Café Utopik is such a place that seems to thrive on its independent situation. It is an extremely convenient place to study, read, chat and of course, indulge in coffee and food. The friendly atmosphere mixes with the L'Utopik mission to promote a socially and politically conscious environment gives it a unique flair.

One of Montreal's coolest hangouts is conveniently located through an inauspicious entrance and a set of saloon doors at 522 rue St Catherines east across from the Berri metro station. L'Utopik's clientele include some of the city's most colourful people from every walk of life. Some are university students enjoying fair trade coffee while studying. Some are local musicians and artists enjoying a beer before giving an evening performance, in fact nearly every evening there is a concert or a poetry reading. Some are hungry travelers from L'Utopik's very own youth hostel attached to the cafe. Glancing around, one will see a pleasant atmosphere of group studying, philosophical discussion, relaxed conversation and a little personal writing too. The café is also dog friendly.

Instead of being one open hall, L'Utopik has several different rooms, each with a character of their own, connected in a weird pattern. This allows for a bit of variety and a legitimate reason to take a walk and stretch before settling in again with reading and conversation. The furniture is without a theme - it includes many couches, coffee tables, wicker, stools and study tables. There is an upright piano and a few wooden stoves, while the westward windows are covered in colourful designs. Strange as it may sound, going to the washroom at L'Utopik can be an entertaining event in itself. The bathroom walls are in fact made up of chalkboards, and patrons are encouraged to add their own graffiti.

The food prepared at L'Utopik is largely organic and vegetarian (and delicious!), to match their ecological mission. The café helps promote political causes, in conjunction with other groups like the Ecological Party of Quebec. Anyone interested in environmental, social and community issues might find some like-minded friends having an organic tea at this café. The walls are covered with the masterpieces of local artists, and are changed each month to keep things fresh. The word on the street is that L'Utopik is preparing for expansion by creating a larger concert hall attached at the back of the café. Look for progress on that very soon.

Go as a group or go alone, but go to Café Utopik.

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