What could be the smallest stand-alone bar in Kelowna is finally open, after nearly a year of effort to get a liquor licence, despite the fact the owners have had a licence a few doors away for 12 years, with no problems.
Micro will allow patrons of Audrey Surrao and Chef Rod Butters to have a drink while they wait to get a seat at their successful restaurant, RauDZ Regional Table on Water Street.
The new bar is only 900 square feet, but will allow their restaurant to accommodate patrons waiting for a seat for dinner, instead of staff sending them to other bar facilities in downtown Kelowna while they’re waiting, explains Audrey Surrao.
However, she notes, the licensing process is “ridiculously slow.”
They embarked on the process late last year and paid their $2,200 application fee Mar. 28, yet it wasn’t until Oct. 30 that they finally received their licence and could open.
“Our bank loans had already kicked in, our lease payments had begun, our staff were trained and hired, but we couldn’t open the bar until we got our liquor license,” she says in frustration.
The city had approved their application at the end of August and they had their occupancy permit in September, she notes.
When she was told the process of getting a licence could take from seven to 12 months, she assumed that would be for a 300 to 500 -patron facility, not for one that only has 34 seats.
“We have no strippers, no gambling, no live entertainment and not even a TV,” she noted, comparing the process to what might be required for those sorts of large facilities with other activities on site.
Even though they paid their fee early last spring, she said it wasn’t until Oct. 22 that someone from the liquor board came and looked at the premises.
She can’t understand what was happening the rest of the time, but she wonders how many other applications were being processed at the same time for this simple one to have taken so long.
“Our thanks go out to all of the local business people, our restaurant clientele, city councillors and local MLAs who took advantage of Premier Christy Clark’s initiative to reform B.C. antiquated liquor policies and make their comments known,” she says.
“We look forward to change in our current liquor laws and hope that sharing our story publicly will help facilitate a common sense approach to licensing in the future.”
The new little bar did finally open last Saturday, with crowds of people stopping by for a drink and a bite, and Surrao said she is “excited to get it open.”
It is a bar so no minors are permitted, but it opens daily at 3 p.m. at 1500 Water Street, a few steps from RauDZ Regional Table.