AGLC eliminates restrictions on patio liquor hours

As of today, Alberta restaurants and bars will be able to serve alcohol on their patios as late as they're allowed to serve it indoors.

Patio liquor service will now match licensed premise hours

The policy was originally implemented to alleviate noise concerns. The AGLC says this authority now falls under the municipality's jurisdiction. (CBC)

As of today, Alberta restaurants will be able to serve alcohol on their patios as late as they're allowed to serve it indoors. 

The change comes with the elimination of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission's "patio hours" policy, which for the last 20 years has restricted liquor service and live entertainment.

"They'll be able to essentially stay open and match the liquor license that's in the event or in the bar or lounge," said Bill Robinson, AGLC president and CEO. 

Previously, patios were required to stop serving liquor at midnight, with a one-hour consumption period to follow. 

"We thought it was time to modernize this and to bring it forward," he said.

Robinson said bars, restaurants and lounges in the province had indicated that removing these restrictions would allow them to manage occupancy levels during peak hours. 

With regard to whether this could lead to more heavy drinking or violence, Robinson said liquor licensees and their staff are expected to continue following all requirements for responsible liquor service.

Effective Aug. 8, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission has removed all its restrictions on liquor service and live entertainment on patios. (Courtesy of Elsa Taylor/The Roost)

Noise control

The AGLC patio hours policy was initially meant to control noise from DJ booths, live entertainment and stereos located outdoors. 

Now that responsibility falls on individual municipalities, he said.

Cities that do not have their own noise bylaws can make a request to the AGLC to impose conditions on a liquor licence restricting patio hours where circumstances warrant.

The old policy stated that recorded music must be kept at a low volume, DJ booths were not allowed to be connected to outdoor speakers, and permanent live entertainment required the written approval of the municipality.

Cilantro on 17th Avenue S.W. was ranked one of Canada's best 100 patios on Open Table. (Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts )

With files from Diane Yanko