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Montreal is considering extending the hours that bars and venues can sell alcohol past the current 3 a.m. cutoff time in an effort to boost tourism and the local economy. The City held public consultations earlier this year to discuss the creation of a 24-hour nightlife district in downtown Montreal, as well as the establishment of “nocturnal zones” where specific venues can stay open all night under certain conditions. While artists and venue owners are intrigued by the idea, they have concerns about the impact of extended hours on the city’s underground party scene and the potential high costs associated with city-sanctioned 24-hour events.

Some venue owners, like Sergio Da Silva of Turbo Haus, have experienced the benefits of staying open late on occasion but are cautious about making it a regular practice. Da Silva believes that staying open past 3 a.m. is not always worthwhile as patrons may already be intoxicated or under the influence of substances. The city has experimented with late-night parties during events like Nuit Blanche, which allows some bars and venues to stay open past 3 a.m. Although owner Mauro Pezzente of Casa del Popolo found it easier to close up after hosting late-night events, he noted that the additional revenue was not significant.

Illegal, underground parties have been a long-standing tradition in Montreal, with concerns that city-sanctioned 24-hour events may threaten these authentic, grassroots gatherings. Young individuals like DJ Tara Halkiw fear that officially organized events may not be as affordable and accessible as the underground parties they are accustomed to. The potential for corporate funding and increased policing at city-sanctioned events could stifle the independent and creative nature of the underground party scene that Montreal is known for.

Non-profit organizations like MTL 24/24 have studied ways to make Montreal a vibrant nightlife destination, similar to cities like Berlin and Amsterdam. The organization received city funding to research how increasing night-seeking tourists in Montreal could have a positive impact on the local economy. The organization’s report suggests that if Montreal can attract more night-seeking tourists, it could inject millions of dollars into the city’s economy annually. Industry professionals like Liz Houle from KickDrum Montreal believe that extending nightlife hours could help address the current demand for venues and provide more opportunities for events to cater to different audiences throughout the night.

The Plante administration plans to release a report on the results of public consultations on its nightlife plan in June, aiming to satisfy all consulted stakeholders. While the potential extension of nightlife hours in Montreal could bring economic benefits and attract more tourists, concerns remain about the impact on the city’s underground party scene and the accessibility of late-night events for young individuals. Ultimately, balancing the interests of artists, venue owners, tourists, and residents will be crucial in shaping the future of Montreal’s nightlife culture.

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