Quebec’s liquor-licensing board has revoked the alcohol and video-poker permits of a basement bar on Jarry St. E. after learning it had not actually served any alcohol to clients for six years.
“The operator profited from the exploitation of five video-lottery machines during all this period thanks to a permit for a bar that wasn’t functional,” commissioners Saifo Elmir and Jean Lepage of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) wrote in their recent ruling to pull the permits attached to Bar Le Quartz at 6843 Jarry E.
They said the VLTs generated “substantial revenues” for the operator, Les Cantines du Québec, over that period.
Les Cantines du Québec had liquor and video-poker permits for both Bar Le Roulier, a first-floor bar with a capacity of 152 people, and for the basement bar, which had a separate entrance and was licenced to accommodate as many as 174 people.
But during an inspection in May of 2014, police observed there was no functioning bar in the basement. And there still wasn’t one in March of 2016, when an inspector for the Régie visited. He reported seeing no alcohol, no tables or chairs, no cash register, empty refrigerators, dust-covered glasses and no working sink. The premises were in a state of renovation, he said, and the posted building permit showed dates from 2011 and 2012.
At a hearing before the Régie this year, owner Ian Deschênes said the work had been ongoing for several years and confirmed what a waitress told police in 2014, that the basement bar hadn’t been functional since 2009. He told the commissioners it was taking so long because he was doing much of the work himself.
In its ruling, the Régie said holders of bar permits are required to actually run a business, not simulate one to operate VLTs.
In addition to revoking the permits for the basement bar, they suspended for 45 days the permits for Bar Le Roulier.