Drinking

Quinpool restaurants toast change in liquor licensing rules

Licensed restaurants now allowed to serve up to 2 drinks without food

Dilly Dally Eats hopes to capitalize on a change in liquor licensing rules.   Stacey Seward

Restaurant owners on Quinpool Road are hopeful that a change in liquor licensing regulations may help to bring a new vibrancy to the street.

As of Jan. 24, restaurants in Nova Scotia that hold eating establishment licences, a type of liquor licence, are allowed to serve customers up to two alcoholic drinks without having to purchase food.

Previously, only restaurants that held lounge licences were allowed to serve alcohol without a meal.

According to a Service Nova Scotia news release, the changes were made in an effort to “modernize legislation” in order to help small businesses succeed.

Karla Nicholson, executive director of the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association, says she believes the Quinpool Road area will benefit greatly from this change.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “If people want to go to a movie and have a drink, or paint pottery and then have a drink … I think it will give a new, slightly more vibrant and interesting aspect to Quinpool that we’ve never had.”

‘Great compromise’

In Nova Scotia, liquor licences are issued through the province, but must be cleared by the municipality. Only three restaurants in the Quinpool area have lounge licences — Freeman’s, Atlantica and Athens — and that’s only because they were grandfathered in.

While some restaurants had called for changes, a number of residents in the area had voiced concerns about issuing more lounge licences.

“I think it’s a great compromise,” Nicholson said of the new regulations. She noted that one resident who was opposed to lounge licences had expressed her approval of the change in liquor licensing at a recent community meeting.

Patios, live music

Restaurant owners are already taking advantage of the change in regulations.

Sonia De Mota opened Riot Snack bar in August. She said she regularly had to turn away patrons looking for a drink, and has already noticed an increase in alcohol sales since the new regulations went into effect.

“We’ve already had regulars come in for a drink, just to support us. I think you’re going to see a lot more business on Quinpool Road,” De Mota said.

Laura Draeger owns Dilly Dally Eats, a small cafe on Quinpool that offers a selection of local wines, beers, ciders and liqueurs. She plans to expand her hours to include evening service and to experiment with after-hours events, such as live music.

Draeger also plans to build an outdoor patio behind the cafe, hoping that people will stop in for a cold drink on a hot summer day.

“It just seems so much more civilized,” she said. “My spouse and I spend a lot of time in Barcelona, and in Spain, it’s a way of life. You just have a glass of wine and relax on the patio and enjoy life as it goes by.”