Hoko’s Sushi Karaoke Bar hassled for patron dancing

Shortly before the Straight went to press last week, Hoko’s Sushi Karaoke Bar received its contravention notice resulting from a visit by liquor inspectors on August 22. The same visit had already prompted the restaurant to scrap live music. Three offences were listed: operating contrary to its primary purpose as a restaurant, allowing liquor on stage, and allowing patron dancing. A compliancy meeting between Hoko’s management and liquor inspectors was set for September 15, which could help the establishment to circumvent a fine or suspension.

Hoko’s manager, Jian Chao, told the Straight of her desire to meet the requirements of Hoko’s various permits, saying, “Our goals are the same as theirs.” But whatever the outcome of the meeting, which took place after the Straight had gone to press, Vancouver’s music community has reacted angrily to the situation, having lost a small but important venue. “It doesn’t seem like they’ve done anything except be the victim of shitty bureaucracy,” Music Waste organizer Cameron Reed told the Straight. “They are a perfect example of why our city needs to reevaluate its licensing.”




Sep 17, 2009 at 9:50am

I've seen them in action harassing Hoko while nothing is going on in there and the place is half empty. It's like watching the mafia strongarm local business owners.

Stephen Taylor

Sep 17, 2009 at 9:51am

I think this "no dancing" business is absolutely ludicrous and there is no reason why a venue like Hoko's; a mainstay of the Vancouver indie music scene should be hassled on such a regular basis. Hoko's gave my band many many opportunities and was by far one of my favourite places to play AND to patron. I have heard time and time again about Vancouver's ludicrous politics and beaurocracy affecting music venues and things definitely have to change because everything that's happening in Vancouver, from the Arts cutting to venues shutting down to "no dancing" bylaws/ regulations will do nothing but further the city's reputation as a "no Fun" city. I love Vancouver, but I think things really need to change.


Sep 17, 2009 at 10:39am

I am so mad!!!!


Sep 18, 2009 at 12:14am

Where the hell is Kevin Bacon? He'd fix this "no dancing"shit.


Sep 18, 2009 at 3:27pm

Hoko's is a very special place. I can't help but think Hoko is being bullied intentionally, I suspect a bias.


Nov 29, 2009 at 4:36pm

maybe hoko should pay for the appropriate liquor license! duh.


Apr 25, 2010 at 4:29pm

A full liquor license is very hard to get!!! the whole system is monopolized and controlled by the wealthy. If you have a 100K to get one you might be able to, all the clubs downtown are controlled by a group of wealthy business men. rich get richer... duh.