A bar in Hochelaga is facing a 40 day suspension from provincial authorities after a litany of drug and violence issues came to light.
According to Le Journal de Montréal (with the salacious headline invoking “Sexe, drogue et violence”), bartenders at Chez Francoise on Sainte-Catherine E (at Valois) were caught dealing drugs in plain sight, including to an undercover police officer.
That was just part of a long list of issues surrounding the bar — an investigation was sparked last November following a robbery in the bar, and gunshots being fired outside of it. Video surveillance footage from that night revealed that an associate of the bartender had been standing behind the bar serving customers with a firearm in hand.
Undercover police made multiple trips to the bar following that incident. On those visits, they saw a bartender taking drug orders by phone, customers and staff handling drugs in plain sight, and customers consuming those drugs in plain sight in the washrooms. One bartender told an undercover officer directly that she dealt cocaine.
Then in April, police were called to the bar again due to complaints that an unspecified number of individuals were having sex in the bar’s washrooms. This was ongoing when police arrived, but more officers had to attend after about a dozen customers started obstructing police, with some attempting to attack them.
After these incidents were reported back to the provincial regulator for bars and restaurants, the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux, Chez Françoise was issued a 40-day suspension of its alcohol permit. In its decision, the Régie suggested that the bar owner lacked control over the establishment. However, the bar is still open in the meantime, with owner Tong Li planning to appeal it.
That suspension is relatively long compared to others that the Régie has handed down in past years — a Peter Sergakis bar faced a 21-day suspension in 2017 for five separate issues, mostly surrounding issues with alcohol service, while one location of cheap eats chain L’Gros Luxe faced a 30-day shutdown in 2016 following noise complaints.