Province forces Narrow Lounge to shut for a week, raising questions that have long remained unanswered

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      Vancouver’s much-loved Narrow Lounge will close down for a week at the end of April after being flagged for a violation by the BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch.

      Before we get to the details, a couple of quick questions.

      When large swaths of this city’s streets look like Return of the Living Dead crossed with the most harrowing parts of Requiem for a Dream, why exactly are the Province’s No Fun Police spending their evenings combing bars for infractions that are hurting no one? (Except, that is, the sensibilities of those tasked with drawing up rules that make zero sense to anyone except for the very people drawing them up?)

      Have BC’s bureaucrats and liquor inspectors ever spent a day in Dublin’s Temple Bar district, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, or in all of Ibiza, where the only rule seems to be that a club or bar is full when there’s literally zero space for anyone to move? (If you’ve been there, you know you simply hold your drink over your head and keep dancing.)

      Why does it take about 24 hours to get the okay to open a bar in Mexico, while every single establishment operating in Vancouver requires going through endless idiotic hoops which leave almost everyone in tears? (Except, that is, the bureaucrats and inspectors and other assorted IBM computer users and clip-on-tie fans who draw up and enforce the rules for who can open a bar?) And, once a bar is open, you'll need a Bible-sized guide as to what constitutes a grievous affront to humanity and all that’s decent—leading to enforced, baffling closures. 

      But we digress.

      The Narrow Lounge will be closing from April 26 to May 2 after getting in trouble with the Province.

      In a statement, the Narrow Group's David Duprey says, “Communication is vital. We recently re-learned that lesson with bad news from the BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch that poor communication between one of our former bartenders and one of their inspectors has resulted in us being charged with an infraction which requires us to close for a week or pay a $7,000 fine.”

      Contacted by the Straight, Duprey said, "The big issue was the inspector was mistakenly told by a bartender the kitchen was closed at 12:15am. Fifteen minutes before the allowed time for it to be closed. They hit us with a bunch of other little things just to make the charges really hit. 'Bar is too big, lights are too low'. The craziest one was patron drinks looked 'alcoholic'. How else are they suppose to look?"

      He added: "I wish they had tried to work with us to fix there issues rather than go straight to being punitive. Way over-reaching and very much how it was 15 years ago. Back to No Fun City." 
      Rather than fork over its hard-earned money, the Narrow has chosen to temporarily shutter, using its mandated (and probably unwanted) vacation time to repaint the space and rethink its food and beverage program.
      “Our friend chef Karl Gregg from Rosie’s BBQ is creating a super fun food program,” Duprey says, “while our new all-star bar manager Levi DeVos is rolling out a fresh cocktail menu of his crazy creations.”
      Speaking of crazy, is it really too much to ask that, at some point, the BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch stop the insanity? Dare to dream, even if that dream will likely never come true.