Ucluelet’s municipal council is backing a local restaurant’s bid to extend its liquor service and allow patrons to dance and sing karaoke.
Howler’s Family Restaurant has submitted an application to BC’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCB) to push its food primary liquor license from midnight to 2 a.m. seven days a week.
The restaurant has also applied for a patron participation license, which would allow for dancing and karaoke.
These two applications are separate and council had the option of supporting one and not the other but agreed to support both during a recent regular meeting.
The final decision will be made by the LCB but council’s support carries solid weight.
A report submitted by Ucluelet’s lead planner John Towgood explained that the district collected feedback from the restaurant’s neighbours and received no negative views of the changes.
“For this application all property owners/occupants within 100 metres of the subject property were notified by mail. The public notice was also available for viewing at the Ucluelet Municipal Hall,” Towgood wrote.
“No letters or concerns have been submitted at the time of writing this report.”
Towgood added that the district’s bylaw enforcement team has received no complaints about the restaurant since it opened last year but Ucluelet’s police are wary of the later liquor service.
“The Ucluelet RCMP detachment states it does not have any complaints of any kind on record in regards to Howler’s Restaurant and the business has been operating in a respectful manner,” he wrote.
“The RCMP further note that the extension of liquor service hours may result in more noise and nuisance related calls and they would be hesitant to support the service of liquor till 2 a.m. proposed in this application.”
Restaurants with food primary liquor licenses are able to apply for licenses that allow liquor to be served as late as 4 a.m. as long as eating remains the main activity inside, according to Towgood.
“For alcohol to be served with a food primary liquor license there needs to be an intent to eat, the kitchen needs to be open and a full menu needs to be available,” he wrote.
“The LCB reviews the amount of alcohol served compared to amount of food served to ensure that a food primary liquor license is in fact food primary.”
Towgood noted Howler’s does not sit within a residential area and suggested later hours could boost Ucluelet’s nightlife.
“The request to provide service liquor till 2 a.m. and for patron participation with dining and dancing has both a benefit to the community by adding to the night life options and a drawback by the additional noise and nuisance issues,” he wrote.
Howler’s co-owner Amie Shimizu spoke at the meeting and assured late-night noise would not be an issue.
“We actually soundproofed this building when we were doing the renovations,” she said adding the restaurant’s music does not reach neighbours.
“To turn it all the way up to the fullest level, which would be very uncomfortable inside the restaurant but I have done it in the evenings, when there’s nobody around, to test it and I would just simply walk outside and there’s very, very, little you can hear; almost nothing.”
She noted the restaurant also houses the community’s only bowling alley and the noise of bowling cannot be heard outside.
She said dancing would not be a seven-day-a-week activity but rather an option for special events.