Take a walk among the bustling back-streets of the McGill ghetto, and you might be lucky enough to pass by a bright yellow door—one that stands-out among the rest. Unassuming as it may appear, this door is an access-point to a popular Friday night hub rife with spoken word, music and emerging local talent. Serving Montreal’s artistic community for over 50 years, it is Canada’s oldest coffeehouse. As testament to its quaint entryway, the hub is named the Yellow Door Coffeehouse, which belongs to an organization that aspires to promote community and initiate social inclusion. Their Friday night series, which takes place at 3625 Aylmer street, celebrates artistic diversity: from spoken word and slam poetry, to an array of unique musical compositions, this creative epicenter delivers the artistic dose needed to keep you inspired throughout the seasons.
The venue is located on the base floor of a charming Montreal residence, where fairy lights decorate brick walls, handcrafted quilts and pillows dress each seat, and instruments of all fashion grace the space with a delectable flare of creativity. Walking down each step feels as though you are descending into a fireside jam-session—removed from the clatter and chaos of Montreal’s vibrant night-life. A warm greeting from Marc Nerenberg awaits guests and performers at the bottom of the steps. Marc is the man responsible for running the coffeehouse, and often MC’s for its Friday night series. His light-hearted and charismatic energy is contagious, serving as icebreaker among audience members. Soon, the hum and whir of conversation permeates the room as guests begin sharing stories and discussing their latest muses. Those who wish to perform are asked to write their names on colour-coded slips of paper—green for musical acts and blue for spoken word pieces. With the zest of a cabaret magician, Marc sits on the stage before pulling names from a hat, determining the night’s order of performers.
While the bulk of the night is structured around an open-mic concept, each session also plays host to a featured artist who occupies approximately half-an-hour of the evening. Audience members can purchase snacks and warm beverages on-site, which are available upon donation, although everyone is welcome to bring their own food as well.
Many students do not know about Yellow Door’s weekly events nor of the organization’s contribution to Montreal’s creative arts scene. Yellow Door has occupied a historical role supporting local poets and writers, and serves as a valuable locale for poetry and prose. The space is an empowering hotspot for young poets, and the community that surrounds it is as lucrative and welcoming as it gets.
Whatever your muse, the Yellow Door coffeehouse is a valuable resource to explore your creativity in front of a warm and receptive audience. It is an open platform that invites participants across all creative disciplines to showcase their work in a safe space of supportive peers. For all who show up—whether to play, participate, or quietly enjoy each unique act—Yellow Door is quick to welcome you into its vibrant community of artists and attendees.
By Hania Peper