Rickshaw's liquor licence ends long dry spell
Permit for sale of alcohol at music venue is the first of its kind issued in area in more than 20 years
By Jeff Lee and John MacKie, Vancouver Sun July 1, 2011
David Duprey stands outside his Rickshaw Theatre on Hastings Street. The permanent liquor licence granted to his live music venue means he will now have an easier time finding investors, he says.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch, PNG, Vancouver Sun
Vancouver city council approved a permanent liquor licence Thursday for the Rickshaw Theatre, the first of its kind issued in the Downtown Eastside in more than two decades.
The decision, which was not opposed by neighbours, opens the door to other live performance venues that have been using temporary event licences in order to serve alcohol.
David Duprey, owner of the Rickshaw at 254 East Hastings, said that since opening the Rickshaw two years ago, he has had to be creative in obtaining special-event licences for his 490-seat theatre. He's used staff, his manager, even his wife to apply for the permits, which are limited to two per applicant per month. The Rickshaw holds 10 to 20 events per month.
Vancouver rarely issues new permanent liquor-primary licences. People who want to start up a new bar usually have to buy their licence from another bar that's going out of business, at up to $1,000 per head.
The city has also had a moratorium on issuing liquor licences in the Downtown Eastside since 1990.
But city council said Thursday that the Rickshaw would have a different clientele from walk-in bars in the Downtown Eastside because liquor sales would only be made to patrons of their live events.
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