The owners of the Cut Cartel Barbers Lounge, Anna Thomas and Darren Enns, here seen during the 2019 Crystal Awards, have applied for a liquor primary license to add to their operations at 2425 Bevan Ave. in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney barber shop hopes to serve alcohol to customers

Cut Cartel Barbers Lounge has submitted a liquor primary application

Sidney residents will get a chance to comment on plans by a local barber shop to add liquor and music to its services.

Councillors last week unanimously agreed to solicit written feedback on plans by the Cut Cartel Barbers Lounge to add a liquor primary licence to its operations at 2425 Bevan Ave. The feedback will be part of a resolution that Sidney will submit to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), which will approve the licence as well any conditions attached to it. The decision to ask for public feedback came after a presentation from owner Anna Thomas along with Darren Enns. The business opened in February 2019 and won the Crystal Award of Excellence for New Business in the fall of 2019.

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A dominant issue during the initial discussion at council was the question of noise as the business plans to offer a small venue for live music, darts and billiards. If the business were to host live music events, it would be in the form of acoustic guitar music, said Thomas. The business has hosted private functions in the past without drawing any complaints from neighbours, with the proviso that it has never hosted live music, the public heard during Thomas’ presentation.

According to the municipal staff report accompanying the application, the local RCMP detachment has raised the issue of possible noise for residents living in the area in calling for assurances against an outside patio or gathering area.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith referenced this aspect of the report with staff responding that any concerns from the public about noise would flow into the detailed report staff must prepare for the LCRB.

According to the staff report, the existing zoning includes clear regulations designed to mitigate noise from pub use including the prohibition of outdoor live music and a requirement to sound proof business premises.

“While existing [municipal] bylaws already address some of the RCMP concerns, additional conditions could be added to the licence to mitigate noise impacts if [council] decides to opt-in the comment process,” it reads.

Most members of council either withheld specific comment on the merits of the application or stressed the importance of gathering feedback from the public.

“It’s important to get the neighbours’ perspective and those in our community as well, who don’t live in the area,” said Coun. Scott Garnett in echoing comments from Coun. Chad Rintoul.

Only Coun. Terri O’Keeffe publicly praised the proposal, calling it an example of a business trying to evolve. She said businesses need to come up with different ways to succeed.

Thomas said in her presentation that adding a liquor licence would place the business at the forefront on the Saanich Peninsula.

“Liquor service in barber shops has been available in many other countries around the world for years,” she said. “I would say 80 to 90 per cent of our clients are adult customers, who would like to be able enjoy a beer with their service. On a daily basis, we are being asked when we are going to get a liquor licence.”

Thomas said later that the focus of the business would not change. “Our intention is not be a bar or a night club,” she said. “We want to be a barber shop that offers a drink or a beer with our service.”

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Current plans call for the business to extend its hours from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Prior to COVID-19 closures the business operated 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Thomas, however, signalled her willingness to accept limitations on serving hours, and promised that the business would serve only products from Sidney-based Victoria Distillers and Central Saanich’s Category 12.


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