June 13, 2018 3:06 pm
Updated: June 13, 2018 3:43 pm

Handful of Winnipeg bars can serve alcohol early during World Cup games

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On a normal Manitoba Friday in June, you can order a caesar or a mimosa from a bar as early as 9 a.m.

But with this year’s FIFA World Cup happening in Russia, the time difference means plenty of games start earlier than that.

As a result, a small number of bars have applied and been granted approval by the Liquor and Gaming Authority to start selling booze to customers at 7 a.m. while games are on TV.

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“We evaluated those requests, and as a regulator for adult products we always try to balance carefully the interests of the community as well as public safety,” LGA spokesperson Lisa Hansen explained. “The decision was made to extend hours to 7 a.m. to accommodate most of the games.”

READ MORE: Canada, U.S. and Mexico will host 2026 FIFA World Cup

Five licensees have been granted approval while a sixth should get the green light before the start of the tournament Thursday.

Hansen said the decision to grant the requests takes into account a number of factors.

“The importance of the event, how many people are interested in the event. Our legislation does allow us flexibility to extend hours relating to events that are important to the community. We take all that into consideration and at the same time we do try to always weigh the public safety issues and the risks that would come along with extended service hours.”

From June 15-24, there is a game at 7 a.m. every day except this Saturday, when games are on at 5 and 8 a.m. After that, games will be starting no earlier than 9 a.m.

Hansen said 5 a.m. was just too early to start serving alcohol, but licensees could still open their doors to sell breakfast.

READ MORE: Alberta extending liquor service hours for World Cup matches

She also said the small number of extensions is not because the LGA has turned licensees down, it’s simply that only a few have bothered to apply.

“There is no deadline. That recognizes the flexibility for businesses who maybe upfront have decided they won’t open early but maybe if there’s interest in their community may choose to. We will accept applications for extensions at any time during the World Cup for the days in which games do occur.”

Similar extensions have been granted to big events like the Red River Ex and the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, where vendors will be allowed to sell alcohol until 3 a.m., one hour later than usual.

The five places that have been approved are:

  • Delta Sports Club
  • King’s Head Pub and Eatery
  • Mano A Mano
  • Santarem Recreational Club
  • The Grove Pub and Restaurant
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