Montreal venue owners support 24-hour party district — with reservations

It’s 2:55 a.m. on a recent evening at Blue Dog bar, in Montreal’s Plateau district. A bell rings, the bartender shouts, “last call,” and a handful of people wander to the bar for one more drink.

montreal venue owners support 24-hour party district — with reservations

Slight variations of this scene occur across the city every night, as bars and venues are prohibited — most of the time — from selling alcohol past 3 a.m. But with an eye to attracting nocturnal tourists and boosting the local economy, the City of Montreal is looking to change that.

Earlier this year, the administration of Mayor Valérie Plante held public consultations for a 24-hour nightlife district to be created in a still-undetermined sector of downtown. Also under consultation was Plante’s plan for pockets of “nocturnal zones” across the city, where specific venues can stay open all night under certain conditions.

And while artists and venue owners are interested in the idea, they have some reservations. Some worry whether staying open all night is worth the trouble; others question whether city-sanctioned 24-hour events will be expensive and crowd out the underground parties for which Montreal is famous.

“There’s not a lot that is good that happens after 5 a.m.,” said Sergio Da Silva, owner of popular bar and venue Turbo Haus, located in Montreal’s entertainment district.

montreal venue owners support 24-hour party district — with reservations
1:51 St-Hubert latest Montreal street to be car-free this summer

On some occasions over the years, the city has permitted Turbo Haus and other bars to sell alcohol early into the morning hours, and during those times he and his employees have made more money. Having the option to stay open later can be a fun way to extend the night “when the moment calls for it,” he said.

The email you need for the day's top news stories from Canada and around the world.

But Da Silva doesn’t want to regularly stay open past 3 a.m. because by that time “people have already done what they’re going to be doing. They’re either a little too high, or a little too drunk, and it’s just time to get everybody home and be done with it.”

Over the years Montreal has experimented with legal late-night parties, including during the annual Nuit Blanche, one night a year when some bars and venues can stay open after 3 a.m.

Casa del Popolo, two kilometres north of Turbo Haus, on St-Laurent Boulevard, closed at 5 a.m. last February for Nuit Blanche. Owner Mauro Pezzente said he didn’t make much more money, but closing up was easier because by that time everyone was ready to leave.

“There’s no one sticking around, no one complaining, asking for that one more drink,” Pezzente said.

An open secret in Montreal is that all-night parties have been happening for decades, but they are illegal — and cheap.

Da Silva says he worries that if city-sanctioned 24-hours events become more common, they would threaten the underground parties.

“Once there’s money behind it, that’s when they start calling the cops on somebody else,” he said.

montreal venue owners support 24-hour party district — with reservations
1:58 Montreal launches strategy to make people feel safe again in the Village

“When someone else has an investment in it, they’re going to be like, ‘Well, I don’t want you throwing these authentic, cool, underground raves. I want you to come to my (corporate-funded) rave.’”

Tara Halkiw, a 19-year-old DJ, says many young people can’t go out often because they don’t have enough money. If all-night events are affordable and accessible, she added, the demand would be there.

“But if it’s city-sanctioned, it probably won’t be more affordable,” she said.

More on Canada

Many of Montreal’s first forays into all-night parties, including Nuit Blanche, wouldn’t have been possible without Mathieu Grondin and his non-profit organization MTL 24/24, which received city funding between 2020 and 2023. Founded in 2017 by Grondin, along with Alexis Simoneau and Guy Vincent Melo, the organization studied how to make Montreal a nightlife mecca.

Grondin’s non-profit released a report in 2022 comparing Montreal with Berlin and Amsterdam — two cities famous for their nightlife, and where about 33 per cent of tourists visit specifically for nocturnal events. The report says that if Montreal increases its percentage of night-seeking tourists to 33 per cent — it was 22 per cent in 2019 — that would inject up to $676 million extra into the city’s economy every year.

Halkiw says Montreal has enough of a cultural pull to succeed in attracting more night tourists. “Montreal is a city where so many people come to party … I kind of view it as the New York (City) of Canada.”

Liz Houle, with show promoter KickDrum Montreal, said the supply of venues is much lower than demand. As well, if venues schedule two events in one night, it can be hard to get people in the doors for the earlier shows, which start around 6 p.m., she said.

“If nightlife was pushed a little later, and the late show could run until four, five, six in the morning, there would be more space to split the night in a way that makes more sense,” Houle said.

A spokesperson for the Plante administration says it’s scheduled to release a report on the results of public consultations on its nightlife plan in June, and added that the city believes all consulted stakeholders will be satisfied.

OTHER NEWS

12 minutes ago

France players involved in bizarre mid-tournament friendly ahead of Euro 2024 clash with the Netherlands... as one star nets a hat-trick during dominant 7-0 victory

12 minutes ago

Dallas could have the best, or worst, NFC East LB corps

12 minutes ago

US supreme court upholds Trump-era tax rule on foreign income – live

12 minutes ago

Why KZN Awards removed late actor Mpho Sebeng's nomination

12 minutes ago

Help stop classic cars being wrongly registered with the DVLA

12 minutes ago

Italian firm DR fined €6 million for misrepresenting Chinese cars

12 minutes ago

Nikko Remigio’s chances of climbing the depth chart in training camp

12 minutes ago

'Trade Is One for One': Unofficial Kickoff to the NHL's Summer Frenzy Brings Flashbacks of 2016

12 minutes ago

Teams with the fewest players in Pete Prisco's Top 100 list for 2024: Commanders, Colts get shut out

12 minutes ago

Five college football wide receivers primed for breakout seasons in 2024

16 minutes ago

Manhunt for fugitive suspected of 'multiple homicides' in Oklahoma leads to Arkansas

18 minutes ago

Video: Scottie Scheffler is joined by his wife Meredith and newborn son as he arrives at Travelers Championship... a month on from PGA arrest drama

18 minutes ago

Video: Singer Kacy Hill reveals the six-month ordeal she endured in a bid to break away from Kanye West's GOOD Music label

18 minutes ago

Alvaro Morata to have 2+ shots on target and Alessandro Bastoni to commit 2+ fouls priced at 7/1 - as Spain and reigning champions Italy meet in a Group B blockbuster

18 minutes ago

Slovenia 1-1 Serbia: England are handed the chance to WIN their Euro 2024 group as fans launch plastic cups onto the pitch before Luka Jovic scores dramatic late equaliser

18 minutes ago

Scottie Scheffler is joined by wife Meredith and baby son at Travelel a month after arrest

19 minutes ago

"I'm a childfree surrogate - I wanted to be pregnant without the "tie" of a baby"

19 minutes ago

Guzman y Gomez shares rocket 36% on IPO day

19 minutes ago

Hats off to racegoers as Royal Ascot hosts Ladies’ Day

20 minutes ago

Phil Foden told he must do exactly what Wayne Rooney did to avoid being England flop

20 minutes ago

What time is England vs Denmark plus where to watch as The Three Lions face their Euro 2020 semi-final opponents in second Group C fixture

20 minutes ago

Carlyle creates new Med oil and gas company with $945 million Energean deal

20 minutes ago

McGinn takes up full-time coaching role with St Mirren

20 minutes ago

Danone steps up health focus to boost growth

20 minutes ago

Why tragedies like George cave-in occur

20 minutes ago

Just how extreme is a classic Land Rover? I drove one over a cliff to find out

20 minutes ago

Archeologists discover 4000-year-old labyrinth referenced in Greek mythology

20 minutes ago

Labour extends lead over SNP two weeks before polling day, survey suggests

20 minutes ago

How This Year’s Fire Season Could Pan Out

21 minutes ago

ESPN suggests familiar move to cap Vikings offseason

21 minutes ago

Why CeeDee Lamb could break Calvin Johnson's NFL single-season receiving record in 2024

21 minutes ago

Truss to blame if Tories lose election, suggests Gove

21 minutes ago

Some NFL Owners Discussing a Salary Cap for QBs to Combat Rising Market

21 minutes ago

Scott McTominay & Andrew Robertson lead charge to put Scotland in reach of history

21 minutes ago

Project that uses soya bean powder as part of coastal protection among proposals to get funding

21 minutes ago

Serbia threatens to exit Euro 2024 over chants during Croatia-Albania match

21 minutes ago

Paul George offers high praise to Bronny James with NBA player comp

21 minutes ago

Bridgerton feathers and Diana-inspired polka – the best fashion from Ladies’ Day at Ascot

21 minutes ago

10 best weighted blankets to ease stress and anxiety

21 minutes ago

Top Florida law enforcement official sues DeSantis, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle