12/26/2014 04:30 EST | Updated 02/25/2015 05:59 EST

Verdun offering full alcohol permits for first time in more than century

For the first time in more than a century, Montreal’s Verdun borough will allow bars in the district.

Verdun’s council passed a new bylaw will allow for full alcohol permits for bars that meet strict conditions.

Full alcohol permits have been banned since the 1800s. Until recently, if patrons wanted to buy a drink, they had to buy something to eat as well.

Now, the borough plans to hand out permits to a few local establishments.

Entrepreneurs in the area welcome the news.

“Oftentimes we’d get people coming in, then after their evening, after their meal, they’d want to go have a drink or go somewhere, and we’d always have to send them outside,” said Jean-François Pigeon, owner of Balconville Pub Gourmand.

According to the new bylaw, there are conditions for establishments hoping to receive a bar permit, including set opening hours.

"We have the power to remove the permit,” said Pierre L’Heureux, Verdun borough councillor.

“We have to determine who we have here in the neighbourhood, what type of bar we want to have, and also set very strict conditions on the use of those bars."

The borough council says bar owners could get their permits as early as January.

"I'm pretty sure everybody in Verdun is going to celebrate that day, when they can finally go have a drink. So we'll probably have a pretty busy night," said L'Heureux.

Still, L’Heureux said council is not planning to turn Verdun into a clubbing district.

He said they’re planning to give the permit to a couple bars on Wellington Street and perhaps a couple on Nun’s Island.

Pigeon said he doesn’t mind the conditions around the permits, saying the scene in Verdun is more about small pubs and local wine bars.

“As a resident, I’m pretty glad that I can go out and have a beer somewhere or drink without having to take my car or a cab. And as a business owner, it’s great.”