Montreal businesses set to pull all-nighter, serving food and drinks until Sunday 8 a.m.
On Saturday, Montrealers will have all the time in the world to eat, drink and party.
As part of the annual Nuit Blanche tradition — which includes Montreal's Metro service running all night and activities in the downtown core — 17 bars, clubs and restaurants along Saint-Laurent Boulevard will have the option to stay open from Saturday evening until 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The all-night event is being dubbed as The Main Non-Stop.
It's a pilot project organized by the boulevard's merchants association and Montreal 24/24, a non-profit group that aims to prove the local night life. The project has gotten the green light from both the city and the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough.
Last year, a venue on Saint-Laurent boulevard was allowed to serve drinks for 29 consecutive hours over a weekend.
This weekend, the closing times for participating businesses are expected to be staggered, ranging from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m.
"It's going to be great in terms of relaunching the economy after a very difficult pandemic," said Tasha Morizio, the general manager of the merchants' association.
"We all know Saint-Laurent Boulevard is known for its nightlife economy, so for us it was extremely important to have our restaurants, bars and concert venues have the opportunity to stay open and serve our clientele past 3 a.m."
Rob Jennings, who manages the Champs Sports Bar located near the corner of Duluth Avenue, said that kind of flexibility should be the norm.
He says set closing times are a "vestige of the past."
"I don't think it helps anyone to have to close at a specific time. You got to get everyone out at the same time. The police have got to deal with all the rowdiness," said Jennings.
"People start to kind of behave erratically when they have to get out of a bar. That's when people are ordering 16 shots at once."
For Nuit Blanche, Champs is hosting a karaoke night for people who identify as queer, and the singing will continue until well after sunrise.
The merchants' association says Saturday isn't just about providing a boost to businesses. Organizers want to see if later, staggered closing times actually make the downtown area less chaotic.
"We want to do is study the impact on safety and civility and noise complaints when we allow businesses to close at different times thus avoiding excessive crowds," Morizio said.
For a list of participating venues, click here.