Griffintown ping pong bar Playground could be in trouble after discovering that the city mistakenly issued the venue a permit to sell liquor at its Notre-Dame West location.
The bar opened last summer from the owner of nearby restaurant Le Bon Vivant as well as an owner of escape room A/Maze, with capacity for 100 people.
On Friday, the bar posted the news to Facebook noting that “an internal administrative error has been recognized” by the Sud-Ouest borough, and that it should have been forbidden for a license to serve alcohol to be issued to the building where the bar is located.
Of course, Playground holds a bar license dated April 4, 2017, about three months before it opened, but the bar’s post notes that the borough is now considering removing the license. In response, the bar launched a petition to gather support for the bar’s push to retain its license, and as of Monday afternoon had over 400 signatures, although it’s not clear that any demonstration of public support will actually help the bar’s case.
CBC Montreal picked up the story over the weekend, clarifying that the building is not zoned to allow for a bar (as of about a year ago, this Notre-Dame strip also does not permit restaurants to open up within 25 metres of each other, although it’s not clear if that’s the zoning issue at play here). CBC also noted that the borough was set to decide on the bar’s future on Monday, although that meeting has been postponed (the bar was also going to present its petition to the borough at the same time).
In the CBC story, city councillor Craig Sauvé admitted the city’s administrative mistake and pledged to work out a solution “that is positive for everybody”.
Unfortunately for Playground, this isn’t the first time an establishment has been wrongly issued a permit, and the most recent public case doesn’t bode well for the bar: Village gay club Play found itself in a similar situation last year, when a nearby club owner argued that the Ste-Catherine venue had opened too close to another club, against bylaws for that area. Play’s building had been a club in various iterations for years, but it didn’t inherit the permits from its predecessors.
The case isn’t identical — Play was in a different borough, and the laws at play were different. But the city did incorrectly issue a permit, and in that case, it was revoked (by the Ville-Marie borough, not Sud-Ouest) and Play was forced to close.
Since no decision has been made yet, Playground remains open as normal until further notice.