DRINKER | What You Need To Know About The Latest Wave Of BC Liquor Law Reforms

December 17, 2013 


At Coal Harbour’s Cactus Club today, BC Premier Christy Clark announced her government’s suggestions to changes to the province’s antiquated liquor laws, specifically those that apply to restaurants. Yup, we are finally graduating up from baby steps to proper walking. There were several changes suggested, but here is the basic skinny:

Happy Hours are finally a go. BC was the last province in Canada to have kept them illegal, because we’d be damned if we’d let Manitoba push us around (or something). This means Vancouver restaurants will be able serve “time-limited” drink specials, with the price not allowed to drop below a pre-established level. $2.50 for a highball and a buck and a half for a beer? Probably not, but still!

Families will soon be allowed to have meals together in pubs and legions during certain periods of the day. Yup, there was actually a law against that. Because eating with your family in a pub was once thought to cause rickets. Also, witches.

The BC Liquor Control and Licensing Board wants to now clarify and update regulations for food-primary establishments. They need to continue to focus on food, but customers who don’t want to eat shouldn’t be forced to (because, you know…that’s gross). Some nightclubs would love to pretend to be restaurants, and vice versa, and they should be able to apply for a special licence. We call this stipulation the Donnelly Reacharound.

Food or liquor primary licences should be available to cooking schools, galleries and spas. Because nothing says “massage” better than a sippy cup of Old Fashioned! We’re so down with this change, like you wouldn’t believe it.

Chain restaurants should be able to transfer a small amount of liquor between locations (or, let’s make it easier for chain restaurants = dumb).

The only other point that I disagree with is the one that says people who order a drink in a lounge should be able to carry their drinks to the restaurant section. I draw the line here. Personally, I think the old rule should remain in place as a reminder of how stupid our liquor laws were and how difficult it has been to get them changed. You could wave at your friends in the restaurant from an imaginary line of abandoned sin, and there’s a guy (Stockwell Day?) with a cattle prod there to poke you if you cross it.

We need to remember how bad it actually was once it gets better. Let’s build a statue. Somebody write a song. Never forget!

  • Paul D

    Did they mention legalizing pots of “Cold Tea” afterhours at Asian restaurants?