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City Shuts Down Griffintown Ping Pong Bar After Permit Error

And the city reportedly isn’t offering help

Bar Playground/Official

After six weeks of deliberation, the Sud-Ouest borough has ultimately shut down Notre-Dame West ping pong bar Playground after realizing the bar was mistakenly issued a bar permit for a building that was not eligible to hold one.

La Voix Pop reports that a recent special borough council meeting approved the shutdown; Sud-Ouest mayor Benoit Dorais declined to comment on the shutter. Documents for the meeting also show the borough’s urban planning arm also recommended a vote in favour of the closure.

The bar opened in summer 2017 with the appropriate permits, but in January 2018 news surfaced that the bar’s building was never eligible for a bar permit and that the city had mistakenly granted it. The bar remained open up until the borough council vote on Friday.

Voix Pop spoke to some residents near the bar who were upset about noise from the establishment and said they were relieved by the vote (although those neighbours seem to have some empathy for the bar’s plight).

Playground co-owner Alex Karpov tells Eater that some residents were also upset about the situation, and sent supportive messages in the face of the closure.

In February, borough mayor Benoit Dorais made comments that suggested that the city would help the bar find a new location, but Karpov tells Eater that there has been no discussion about relocating the bar from city officials — he also notes that relocation is more cumbersome that it might sound.

“We built a clientele and lots of things around our place. If we have to open a new bar it means we’re going to open from scratch...it means we’re going to start [again] from the beginning.”

Karpov said he was also dismayed by the city’s treatment of the bar, saying that they tried to blame the bar for the predicament (for example, by citing noise complaints against the bar in the motion to shutter the bar), even though the mistake originated from the city.

“Instead of trying to fix it they took the position of trying to put the blame on us and they don’t want to discuss this…mistakes happen, we’re all human, but the question is what you do to fix it. Right now, the [borough] has done nothing.”

At present, Playground’s owners are considering reopening but say there’s no timeline in place yet.

“We don’t know what to do, we’re a bit discouraged, honestly…it’s very hard to think about opening something new,” says Karpov.

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