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Vancouver restaurant closed temporarily after allowing guests to dance

"We are incredibly disappointed with the government's decision and lack of empathy"
Tocador has announced it's closed February 25-27, 2024 as its liquor license has been suspended after people were caught dancing on New Years Eve at the restaurant. @bartocador/Instagram

A Vancouver bar and restaurant has announced that it will be closed for three days after patrons were caught dancing at their New Year's Eve celebration on Dec. 31, 2023.

Tocador, a six-year-old establishment at the corner of Main Street and East 10th Avenue, announced it will be closed February 25 through 27 after a ruling by 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 which means we have to close our doors for three days," states Tocador on an Instagram post

"They gave us this decision two days before our 40k COVID loans had to legally be paid back."

The reason for the suspension is that liquor inspectors witnessed people dancing at Tocador during the bar's NYE festivities according to the post. Additionally, the venue was about 20 people over capacity at the time.

"When we speak to the general public most people are unaware that’s it’s illegal to dance in restaurants in Vancouver. That is just one of the very many rules restaurants are given," notes the restaurant in their post.

Tocador has a Restaurant — Class 1 with liquor service business license. According to the city bylaws, such establishments are not allowed to have "customer participation" which includes "karaoke, dancing or open microphone performing."

In Tocador's post, the business states at 11:54 p.m. on Dec. 31, two liquor inspectors arrived and wrote up the bar for allowing people to dance and being over capacity.

Earlier this year a hearing was held about the infraction, which did not go favourably for Tocador.

'Hopefully one day we can get rid of some of these archaic laws'

"We are incredibly disappointed with the government's decision and lack of empathy for restaurants and small businesses," states the Instagram post. "It really comes across like they don’t understand how serious the crisis is for restaurants right now."

The business adds that they are disappointed with the municipal government's apparent lack of support for struggling businesses.

"There are restaurants out there being given huge fines and even longer suspensions than us all the time," reads the post. "Vancouver has some of the strictest set of regulations. Hopefully one day we can get rid of some of these archaic laws and have the freedom so many other cities enjoy."

 V.IA. has reached out to the City of Vancouver for comment on the ruling.

City responds

While the post appears to suggest the City of Vancouver is responsible, the municipal government says it didn't impose the suspension.

"The City of Vancouver did not visit the restaurant and did not suspend the liquor license of Tocador Restaurant. Liquor regulations are under the purview of the Province," states the city in an email to Vancouver Is Awesome.

It goes on to note the business should discuss the matter with the provincial government.

The City of Vancouver also notes it's created a hospitality working group which includes people from the city's service industry to work on policy to support the hospitality sector, including around liquor licensing. It cites some policies have already come into effect, including dual liquor licenses, lifting a moratorium on new liquor establishments in areas like the Granville strip and Gastown, and increasing capacity at some types of restaurants.

City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung commented on the issue on Twitter, as well.

"Understand Provincial Liquor Inspectors did visit and perform enforcement for infractions of their provincial food primary liquor licence," she writes. "That’s an issue Tocador needs to take up with Provincial inspectors."

V.I.A. has reached out the the province and Tocador for clarification on the matter.


A post shared by Tocador (@tocadorbar)