BC bar fined $4,000 after customers go bowling | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC bar fined $4,000 after customers go bowling

Image Credit: FACEBOOK: The Canadian Brewhouse (Victoria)

A BC pub that let a few people drink beer while bowling on a busy New Year's Eve when it was short-staffed has been hit with a $4,000 fine.

According to a June 27 BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch decision, The Canadian Brew House was short-staffed when patrons of the bar walked from their tables with drinks into the attached bowling alley and started playing.

The decision said the bowling alley, while attached to the bar, isn't licenced and alcohol can't be consumed in the area.

On Dec. 31, 2023, at 11 p.m. two liquor inspectors walked in and observed the situation.

The liquor inspectors also noticed an unattended tub of ice with about 20 beers in it near the entrance.

"Leaving the tub unattended invited customers to help themselves, and self-service is contrary to the governing legislation," the decision read.

In its defence, the Victoria-based bar said the beers in the tub were to be given out to customers with a ticket as it was New Year's Eve and tickets were required to get in.

The bar said that due to being short-staffed the bucket of beer had been left unattended.

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One of the customers bowling admitted, and apologized, for taking one of the beers without paying and offered to pay for it and not be kicked out.

Liquor Branch general manager’s delegate Paul Devine said enforcement over the beer tub was necessary because "self-service... puts public safety at risk."

The bar argued it was short-staffed, and there should have been someone manning the beer tub, but there wasn't at all times.

That wasn't good enough for the Liquor Branch.

"The beer tub was not being monitored and it had no security. If a staff member had been there, it would have been OK," the Liquor Branch said.

For this, the bar was fined $1,000.

READ MORE: BC pub shuttered after customers caught playing pool

The decision said the bar has previously been warned after selling alcohol without food to a liquor inspector and for customers taking their alcoholic drinks into the non-licenced area.

In defence of due diligence, the bar said it had constructed a pony wall between the licenced and unlicensed areas and placed a sign saying: "No alcohol beyond this point."

However, the changes weren't good enough for the Liquor Branch who said the sign was confusing because it did not directly face where customers would walk into the unlicensed area.

The Liquor Branch was also critical that customers can now put their drinks on the pony wall designed to divide the area.

The bar said it has tried to work with liquor inspectors and made multiple changes and the proposed fines weren't appropriate.

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The decision said the bar applied for a liquor primary licence in October 2023 which would allow customers to drink in the bowling alley. There is no mention in the decision as to why the licence hasn't been granted yet.

"It is apparent that the licensee takes the fact of the contravention seriously and has made efforts to address the problem, although more needs to be done," the Liquor Branch said.

Ultimately, the bar opted for a $4,000 fine instead of being shut down for a few days.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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