Readers, thank you all for the comments on last weeks SMNP, I would’ve replied to some of them but I was on vacation in Ottawa and Quebec City, which were both great to see.
Anyways, the subject at hand is Vancouver’s reputation as “No Fun City” and one of the things people seem to agree on are the “archaic” liquor and licensing laws in Vancouver. So I thought I’d ask my favourite club owner Cory Weeds, (The Cellar), just how ridiculous it was. His answer? Not what I was expecting, please read for yourself…
Well, as you know I have opinions on almost everything.
This issue is however a one that goes quite deep. Having said that, to be honest I don’t really have a problem with our laws, or I should say they haven’t had a great affect on me and/or my business.
There is an argument out there that the reason this city for the most part shuts down at 10:30 and 11:00 (other than the hooligans that are on Granville Street till 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning) is because of the antiquated laws etc. That’s an argument I can’t really speak to. It may in fact play a part but I think we’d be kidding ourselves if we blamed Vancouver’s sleepiness and it’s ‘time for bed at 10:30’ attitude on Friday night solely on liquor laws.
There is also a belief out there that there aren’t more live venues in this city because of the laws. Really? That’s the reason? C’mon! If the city wakes up Monday morning and says “okay, you can now open a bar without serving food, you can know how live music of any sort as late as you want and you can open till 2 AM.” Is anything really gonna change? My thoughts are absolutely nothing would change. The reason there aren’t more live venues in this city is because there isn’t enough support, commercial real estate is out of hand and the taxes in Vancouver for small businesses are astronomical. Those are the reasons but I speak more to the ‘support’ issue. People more so in Vancouver don’t place live music high enough on their priority list. I of course am not talking about The Cellar. We have a wonderfully loyal customer base and a growing customer base and my intent is not to call out those people of course. I’m just suggesting that the reason there aren’t more live venues is because there is a lack of support or importance put on live music. That can also be traced backed to The City and it’s politicians. There is not a priority put on culture in Vancouver. I don’t want to use your blog as a platform to bitch about the Olympics but after that debacle, and that’s what it was, it’s quite clear where the Politician’s priorities are. Our arts funding got cut for one reason and one reason only…THE OLYMPICS. And until that debt is paid off (which is never) we can kiss any kind of serious arts/culture funding goodbye. Any politician, expert etc. who says that correlation can’t be made is a liar. An absolute liar.
What the bigger issue for me is that The City Of Vancouver and The Liquor Board has done an absolutely horrendous job at is creating a) a level playing field for all establishments, b) enforcing their own rules and c) even understanding what their own rules are.
9 years ago I had to spend literally thousands of dollars to get the ‘proper’ licenses to have our live jazz continue the way I wanted it to. I was upset but I played by their rules and did what was required and have never looked back. Explain to me how establishments around me can just decide to have live music and the city doesn’t care. They just turn a blind eye to it yet I had to almost go out of business to stay in business. So the playing field is not a level one. The city has rules and regulations but are so unclear as what they are, how to enforce them etc. that no one really knows anymore whats allowed and not allowed. If it’s not allowed they do it anyways because the enforcement in this city is so lame. Don’t take me the wrong way. I’m not saying that there should be restaurant and bar cops out there policing all the establishments…but again it comes back to my issue with the fact that they enforced all the bull shit rules on me, I played by the rules yet many many other establishments didn’t have to do what I had to do.
It’s an age old argument but the culture in this city won’t seriously change for many many years. Noah if he’s lucky will maybe experience a looser city a more fun city a more culturally aware city but at 37 years old and presumably with another 40 years or so to live I doubt I will be around to see that.
I am an honest, law abiding, tax paying business owner who plays by the rules and if the rules change then we’ll see where and how it goes.