- Popular North Shore outdoor venue Beachclub could have its alcohol license suspended for 40 days if the Régie des alcools has its way.
- Owner Olivier Primeau took to Facebook to explain the situation, describing what he sees as an unfair focus on his establishment.
Beachclub, a top summer destination for many Montrealers, might not be the same this year as the Régie des alcools, des courses, et des jeux (RACJ) considers suspending its alcohol permit for 40 days. What's known as Canada's largest outdoor club was put under review by local authorities after a series of high-profile incidents between 2015 and 2018. Beachclub co-owner Olivier Primeau took to social media to voice his displeasure with the RACJ.
In the span of four years, Beachclub witnessed two fatal accidents, incidents of violence, drug abuse, and even the presence of Hell's Angels gang members. According to reports, local police made over 500 interventions during this time.
On Facebook, Primeau criticized the RACJ's decision to put his establishment under review. "It's like this everywhere and yet no other festivals are called to the Régie!" wrote Primeau.
"Do restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, golf clubs, and arenas all deserve a suspension because there are people who are connected to criminal organizations going to these places?"
MTL Blog reached out to the RACJ, who said that the organization never comments on an on-going case.
"The régisseurs will make the decision based on the evidence presented before them at the hearing," said the RACJ
"The Régie highlights that a liquor license is a privilege and not a right."
The case against Beachclub's liquor license was brought forth about a month ago, which prompted a swift response from Primeau and Beachclub representatives.
"It's part of the game," wrote Primeau, responding to the RACJ's accusations. "For those who know events, food, and bars/clubs, you know that things happen."
"For all those who attend Beachclub, you know we have a professional organization and how seriously we take your safety. From your entrance to Beachclub to your exit, you are safe 100% of the time," wrote Primeau.
The RACJ and local police authorities disagree with Primeau's assessment, however.
"Beachclub's liquor license is detrimental to public safety," said the RACJ's lawyer.
According to a report by the Journal de Montréal, there were over 55 ambulance calls due to drug and alcohol abuse in only three years and countless more police interventions due to impaired driving, resisting arrest, and more.
Primeau made it clear that he isn't trying to minimize the severity of police interventions but went on to accuse other festivals and establishments of being worse offenders than Beachclub.
"If you take the average of incidents that have happened in the last 4 years in the biggest bar and club, #1 in Canada, we are probably less bad than all festivals over 2-3 days in Quebec," wrote Primeau.
"Several neighbourhood bars in Montreal and several bars in regions have more problems than us if you average out the number of people who attend them."
Beachclub's lawyers have requested that the potential suspension of the club's alcohol license be only 10 days, should the courts approve the RACJ's injunction. Beachclub is only open for 90 days a year.
The case is currently under review and it's so far unclear when everything will be decided.
If the case is approved, Beachclub won't be able to serve alcohol for a large part of its summer season.
For Beachclub's owners, all they can do is wait and see what happens in court over the next few weeks.
"There are a lot of people who have their heads in the sand and a lot of hypocrisy this story," wrote Primeau.
"The real question is why would we even take 10 days of suspension?"
Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.