Nearly two years ago, the borough repealed a 1965 ban on bars and 19th century temperance laws before that.
But, as city councillor Alain Tassé told Daybreak, “in this new bylaw, there are some restrictions.”
When the borough announced it would issue one bar permit for Verdun and one for Nuns’ Island, it came with conditions — the bars would have to be brewpubs, or establishments where beer is brewed on site.
Benelux, a brewpub with an existing location on Sherbrooke Street near Parc Avenue, won out, becoming the first bar in Verdun since 1875.
And as part of the conditions, they’ll enjoy a monopoly on the area for the time being — no other brewpubs are permitted to open within a one-kilometre radius of its location on Wellington Street near the corner of De l’Église.
Verdun’s changing demographics are mainly responsible for the change of heart.
More students, young families and former Plateau residents are moving to the area in Montreal’s southwest.
Tassé attributed that to the presence of three metro stations, a good amount of waterfront property and family-friendly neighbourhoods.
He also said between 10 and 12 restaurants have a bar licence that permits drinking without eating.
“It’s the first time in probably forever that more of our citizens are willing for us to give bar permits,” he said.
Some locals are excited at the prospect of drinking a little closer to home.
“I’m 31, and I was born here and I’ve never had a chance to only have a beer in Verdun,” said one local CBC Montreal spoke to.
Still, some have their reservations, and for that, the borough is moving ahead with cautious optimism.
A brewpub on Nuns’ Island is in the works, although Tassé wouldn’t confirm its status.
He did say, however, that there’s definitely a possibility of one opening in the near future.