The Montreal pilot project sees boul. St-Laurent. place serving drinks 24 hours a day

The SAT Multimedia Room will remain open from 10 p.m. Saturday, May 21 to 3 a.m. Monday, May 23. The city could try similar initiatives in other areas.

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Could Montreal become a city without a last resort?

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Probably not for every bar in town. But it’s possible that Montreal has a number of bars and music venues continuing to serve drinks throughout the night to give its nightlife a much-needed boost.

Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration has created a pilot project to experiment with the idea of ​​Montreal venues and bars remaining open and serving alcohol 24 hours a day.

It will begin with Non Stop 24/24, during which the multimedia at boul. St-Laurent. location The Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) will remain open from Saturday, May 21 at 10 p.m. to Monday, May 23 at 3 a.m. In other words, it will be open and serve alcohol all night from Saturday to Sunday.

“It’s a historic day for nightlife in Montreal,” said Mathieu Grondin, general manager of the nightlife lobby group MTL 24/24, during a press conference Thursday at the SAT. “Montreal’s nightlife community has been keen to take full advantage of nightlife culture here, like other major cities around the world. In Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and on this side of the Atlantic, New Orleans, there is cultural and commercial activity 24 hours a day. That’s why we’re proud to announce that Non Stop 24/24 will be the first event in Canada to allow a venue to operate 24 hours a day with a liquor license…our city is moving away from the era of last call which is counter-productive for the economy and which harms the quality of life of many Montrealers. With this event, we want to show that another way of life is possible. Festive but also responsible, respectful and safe.

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In 2014, the Régie des alcools du Québec shot down a project backed by then-mayor Denis Coderre that would have extended drinking hours at 19 bars to 6 a.m. Also for a few years before the start of the pandemic, a number of bars were given permission to serve drinks until 6 a.m. for the one-night Nuit Blanche event.

Luc Rabouin, member of the city’s executive committee responsible for economic development and mayor of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, indicated that the city will study the impact of the pilot project and may try similar approaches in other other regions. Such a project is not planned on the Plateau, even if the borough is one of Montreal’s crossroads in terms of bars and cultural venues. Rabouin says he is reluctant to extend it to his borough because of the high population density.

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“We really want to test certain projects in different contexts,” Rabouin said. “And after that, we can allow it on a larger scale.”

Grondin said that day was a long time coming for the nightlife community.

“I started doing rave events in 1997 and always wondered why, like in other cities around the world, we couldn’t have a drink after 3am. I see it as a measure of reduction harm in many ways, because where there is no alcohol, there are other substances. . This pilot project will allow us to reduce the impact on public health, reduce the impact on public safety and it will also help us to develop better working conditions for artists, musicians and service staff in venues, bars, restaurants. … This will help a lot of nightclubs. For a city the size of Montreal, we don’t have many cultural venues where you can dance late at night because it’s not financially viable.

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Grondin is aware that there are Montrealers who will oppose it.

“People who have these opinions are not part of the scene,” Grondin said. “They go to bed early. So they have prejudices. Berlin has had 24 hour permits since the end of WWII and I have been to Berlin many times and never seen people fighting or throwing up because they were too drunk.

Grondin believes the last call at 3 a.m. encourages binge drinking because Montrealers often arrive at clubs after midnight and then feel pressured to drink fast to drink before closing time.

The SAT experience will take place as part of the Montreal at the top of the night conference, which will begin on May 18 at La Tulipe with Open microphone, where citizens will be able to express themselves on the nightlife culture of the metropolis. The conference will continue at the National Monument with sessions featuring nightlife experts from here and around the world, including three nightlife entrepreneurs from Ukraine.

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There will be an ambitious lineup of electronic music artists performing at the SAT for the pilot project. The lineup is expected to be announced on Tuesday, the same day tickets go on sale.

Rabouin also announced that the city is launching a financial assistance program to give $2 million to bars and restaurants to help them attract customers after two years of losses during the pandemic. It is intended for businesses such as building terraces, and assistance can be up to $15,000 or 90% of the cost of the project.

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  1. Co-owner of the Ernest bar, Renaud Marchal, on the right, and DJ Modeste Blaise next to the bar's dance floor on Thursday March 10, 2022. Both are awaiting the lifting of sanitary measures on Saturday which will allow the dance floor to open.

    ‘People are thirsty’ to dance again, say Montreal club owners

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