Tocador has had its liquor license temporarily suspended

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      Main Street’s cocktail bar Tocador is temporarily shut due to a New Year’s Eve run-in with liquor licensing. 

      The Latin-infused spot—known for its unique drinks list and aesthetic decor—announced that it would be shut until Wednesday as a penalty for being significantly over-capacity and allowing patrons to dance. 

      “We were written up for allowing our guests to dance and for being over capacity by about 20 people,” reads the bar’s Instagram post. “We were then called to attend a disciplinary meeting with the City. Even though this was our only offence in six years of being open, the City decided to suspend our liquor license for three days on dates of their choice.” 

      While Tocador’s Instagram post seems to blame Vancouver for the closure, it’s the Province that regulates liquor licenses and employs inspectors. 

      Cities can include their own stipulations on what those licenses entail. Tocador has a Restaurant — Class 1 with Liquor Service license. According to municipal bylaws, it prohibits customers from activities such as “karaoke, dancing, or open microphone performing.”

      “When we speak to the general public, most people are unaware that it’s illegal to dance in restaurants in Vancouver,” Tocador’s statement continues. “Vancouver has some of the strictest set[s] of regulations. Hopefully one day we can get rid of some of these archaic laws and have the freedom so many other cities enjoy.” 

      In an email, Councillor Sarah Kirby-Young tells the Straight that it’s “always frustrating to hear about a small business in our city being hit with a punitive action.” 

      She points to some of the Council’s recent actions, such as streamlining permitting, enabling more patios, and equalizing liquor regulation hours across the city as steps that have already been taken to help small businesses and bars.

      “There’s still more to do,” Kirby-Young adds. “Whenever a situation with an old or outdated regulation comes up, it’s a chance for us to delve into it and see if it’s another opportunity for us to modernize and streamline regulations.”

      Tocador will re-open on Wednesday—likely with a chastened sense of how many people are allowed in at any given time.