1652735683 Bars and Venues Montreal to test extended opening hours

Bars and Venues | Montreal to test extended opening hours

Battered by the pandemic, Montreal wants to “boost its nightlife”. The Plante administration plans to conduct studies and pilot projects next summer to test extended opening hours in certain bars. A funding program for noise-reducing arcades will also start in June.

Posted at 12:17 p.m


Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vézina La Presse

“We want to boost nightlife, but we don’t want to do it at random. There are people who want to sleep, there are people who want to celebrate,” Mayor Valérie Plante warned during a press conference on Monday and spoke of finding a “fair balance” to “promote coexistence”.

His government aims to adopt a “nightlife” policy by 2023. The city pledges to provide 2.1 million by then for an “action plan” that will, among other things, allow studies and analyzes to be carried out to “better understand” the specific problems of the ecosystem of the night.

1.4 million will also flow into a new funding program for alternative venues with fewer than 400 seats. From June, anyone who wants can be encouraged to carry out “acoustic studies” to reduce their noise in the neighborhood with the aim of possibly being able to close later. The program will run for two years until 2024.

Bars and Venues Montreal to test extended opening hours


Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante

Valérie Plante remained cautious but indicated that she needed “data” before deciding whether, for example, bars or other establishments could open past 3am. “Is it by territory, is it by facility? Everything is possible. […] It’s really about testing things so we’ll have our first policy in 2023,” she offered.

All of this comes a few days before the Montreal at the top of the night event scheduled for May 21-22 at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT). Local and international artists have to perform there non-stop on weekends. Alcohol will be served throughout the event due to an exception granted to the event organizers by the City of Montreal.

However, obstacles remain to replicating this idea. The idea of ​​leaving bars open until 6am had already been floated by ex-mayor Denis Coderre a few years earlier, but the Régie des alcools had refused to go ahead, judging that such a decision was in the interests of peace and the public interest would harm . At the time, Mr. Coderre had condemned the fact that the Régie “were mistaken in their way of perceiving the matter”.

“This announcement from the administration sounds like an old broken record. There have already been several experiments with extended pub opening hours well past 3am. […] There is nothing new on the horizon. In the end, the fact remains that we have to further develop the cultural offer in order to create night traffic,” opposition city councilor Julien Hénault-Ratelle reacted on Monday.

2.26 billion in direct expenses

Mathieu Grondin, general manager of the Montreal 24/24 organization, unveiled an “economic portrait” of nightlife on Monday, with figures that he says allow comparisons with other major cities in the world. “The metropolis’ nights, that is, its bars, its restaurants, its performance halls and its festivals, represent $2.26 billion in direct expenditure, including $121 million in tax benefits for the government. ” he pleaded, recalling that the industry also includes 33,559 jobs and a payroll of 994 million.

In 2019, 22% of tourists chose Montreal for its nightlife, says Mr. Grondin, representing 2.44 million visitors and 909 million spending. “If this proportion of night tourism grew to 33% of the tourist mass, as is the case in Amsterdam and Berlin, an additional 676 million would flow into the local economy,” he added.

Montréal 24/24 has been committed to bringing more opportunities to the industry for a number of years. Among other things, the group is calling for the noise statute to be revised to give it an “objective standard” and the designation of “night zones” in which commercial activities could take place continuously.

“Every dollar invested in nightlife infrastructure has a 265% return on investment,” agrees Mathieu Grondin, explaining that extending the opening hours of certain bars would inevitably require additional municipal investment in roads.