Gaming-Themed Restaurant Fighting For Liquor License In BC
A Vancouver gaming-themed restaurant faces the threat of not being able to offer a social gaming/restaurant experience through video game consoles if they are to serve alcohol at their establishment; as ordered by the LCLB (Liquor Control and Licensing Branch).
Vancouver residents and gamers have been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of EXP Restaurant + Bar, a social dining experiece based around video games and the supportive and close-knit community that it creates. Owner Brian Vidovic recently applied for a food-primary license for the restaurant and is now facing the issue of not being able to offer play of ANY video game console (including arcade cabinets, console, handheld) to their patrons if the restaurant is to sell liquor through a stipulation in their license as ordered by the LCLB.
Hit the jump to learn more about this developing issue.
Here’s the exact line from the liquor law:
“Factors considered in imposing terms and conditions for entertainment and games Entertainment and games may be approved in liquor primary establishments, food primary establishments, winery lounges, winery special event areas, winery picnic areas, and winery tour areas. In determining whether to impose a licence condition restricting or limiting a type or form of entertainment or games under policy 11.1.1, the general manager may consider: the compatibility of the entertainment with the class or category of liquor licence held by the establishment, and specifically:if in respect of a food primary establishment, whether the entertainment or games provided would result in a shift in focus away from the service of food during all hours of the establishment‘s operation or are adult-oriented (not suitable for minors – see 11.2.2), or if in respect of a liquor primary establishment, whether the entertainment or games provided would result in a shift in focus to that of a video games arcade or movie theatre”
Long-winded government speak right? But what it really means is that board games are allowed, if they don’t “shift focus away from the food” but video games aren’t since it takes away from the service of food.
Basically, arcade games or games that require people to stand up and move around are in violation if they are placed in areas of the restaurant or bar that is/are food-primary licensed. But what about video game consoles? You don’t really have to be moving around to play them, however vague wording of “the use of gaming consoles outlined in red on the official floor plans is prohibited” stipulated in EXP’s license forbids them to have any games in their establishment. Based on the section of the liqour law mentioned above, the LCLB claim that EXP Restaurant + Bar violates said law.
Vidovic has been continously told to get a liqour primary (which is a long process in itself, with thousands of dollars in fees attached to it aka 18 months + $15,000) yet the LCLB seem to forget that liquor inspectors can deny EXP Restaurant + Bar based on:
“if in respect of a food primary establishment, whether the entertainment or games provided would result in a shift in focus away from the service of food”
And therein lies the issue, there are only the two licenses available in BC. One is the “Food-primary” which refers to a licensed establishment where the service of food, as opposed to liquor, is the main focus of the business. (eg. family restaurant) The other is the “Liquor-primary” which refers to a licensed establishment where the service of liquor, as opposed to food, is the primary focus of the business. (eg. Night clubs)
Apparently video game focused restaurants don’t fit the mold.
These liquor laws are extremely dated and are in need of a level up. Those who uphold and enforce these liquor laws don’t understand that video games and the entertainment industry have evolved since the 1980′s and are not aimed at children any more.
Let me paint it in a picture I’m sure some of you have been through…
Think of the BC liquor law like a parent who doesn’t really understand why we play video games. All of our friends got a PS3 or a 360 for Christmas, while we’re getting a brand new, used, NES…
Thankfully, Vidovic and the increasing EXP community have banded together through an online petition to allow the use of gaming consoles at the establishment. Help Vidovic and the EXP community in their fight to change the liquor licensing laws of BC by signing the petition below.
What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comment section below.