Home Coffee shop Hidden Gem Cafe: This Old Montreal Cafe Is LITERALLY Underground

Hidden Gem Cafe: This Old Montreal Cafe Is LITERALLY Underground

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Coffee lovers in Montreal love these underground cafes off the beaten path. So how about somewhere literally underground?

For local coffee drinkers who want a real cup of coffee (get outta here, Starbucks), Ludo Cafe in the Old Port should be on any caffeine lover’s radar.

But Ludo Café has more to offer than just an underground and authentic Italian café, it’s also a gym and a boxing gym.

Speaking with Daily Hive, Antoine, co-owner of Ludo Café and Panda Boxing, said his place was “very hidden” and “hard to find”.

Antoine says his cafe-gym hybrid offers snacks, Mid-Day Squares, smoothies, and “all the coffee classics: cappuccinos, lattes, mocha, espressos, and more.”

As an Italian, Antoine says he grew up in Italian cafes and understands the “sense of community” in cafe culture. “You arrive and you don’t know anyone and when you leave you’ve had a friend for 20 years,” he says.

Ludo Café and its adjacent Panda Boxing Gym have this “community and family atmosphere, friendship first”.

Antoine says the underground gem is a “mixture of both worlds”, with regulars coming in for coffee and regular gym members coming in to work out. “We have people coming in from the Montreal offices for training and people coming in just for the coffee – it all happens as a natural process.”

Customers enter the building on Saint-Paul, through a side door, and descend a staircase to meet the café-boxing duo.

Antoine says his 3,000 square foot space has a full gym, boxing ring, private shower, vanity area and space for group classes. The gym offers coaching and private fitness-focused workouts.

The stone-walled marble counter opened just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and, according to Antoine, the cafe has been operating “regularly” since February 2022.

“You walk in and you think, where am I?” he describes. “You’re in a basement, a gym, a cafe, and there’s even another bar next door,” referring to the trendy cocktail bar STILL LIFE.

Antoine says he and his team “completely redesigned the basement, we built it from scratch – it was rubble and rocks”.

The Ludo Café and the Panda Boxing Gym are open every day, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.

If you’re looking for hidden cafes, Ludo Café is hard to beat.