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'It's beyond stupid': A temporary bar has been installed in Montreal… in front of an existing bar

'It's beyond stupid': A temporary bar has been installed in Montreal… in front of an existing bar

A Montreal bar owner is upset that a makeshift bar has been installed right in front of his establishment, in the middle of Blanche Weekend.

“This lack of planning is unacceptable. “With a 30% vacancy rate on the street, you can't tell me there is no better place to put this bar,” criticizes Sergio da Silva, owner of Turbo Haüs, on the line. A bar on St. -Denis in the Latin Quarter.

Since Friday, the street has been closed to host the second edition of “Apik”, a free event that mixes board sports, dancing and alcohol.

Although Apik invites its participants on its website to frequent the bars of Rue Saint-Denis, it also sells its own alcoholic beverages, particularly in a makeshift bar with a terrace.

The only problem is that this bar was installed directly in front of Turbo Haüs, which was hoping for a particularly busy weekend this weekend with its Nuit blanche.

“Very unattractive”

“I woke up in the morning, and there was a bar in front of my bar,” sums up Mr. da Silva. “It's beyond stupid.”

According to him, the current arrangement makes his organization “very unattractive” and makes him fear losing thousands of dollars in sales.

“Right now, in front of my bar, it feels like it behind the scenes [arrière-scène] And you're not supposed to be there,” he lamented.

Mr. da Silva confirms that he was not consulted about the planning of these facilities.

“I realize these events are for our benefit, but I'm sure a lot of the pubs on the street will be happy to set up their own little stalls outside to raise some money,” he says.

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“Well planned,” says SDC.

The Latin Quarter Commercial Development Corporation (SDC) defended the planning of the event, which it collaborated on for “months”.

“The specific logistical and security constraints of an event of this size, on this part of Rue Saint-Denis, limit the possibilities of locating a temporary bar,” general manager Rachel van Velzen explained via email. Since the beginning of the year, merchants in the Latin Quarter have been regularly informed of this event via various communication platforms, in particular highlighting the sale of alcohol on the street.

In an interview with the newspaper, Ms van Velzen explained that the event must sell alcohol to ensure its funding.

Furthermore, she noted, it was impossible for bars to open their own kiosks due to municipal bureaucracy.

In fact, to do this, it was necessary to submit an application in March 2023 to the Ville-Marie region, long before it was known whether Apik would return for a second year.

However, the Ville-Marie District recently revised its regulations to set a September deadline for winter events.

The City of Montreal did not immediately respond to interview requests from the Journal on Saturday evening.

Apik, for its part, declined an interview request.