Skip to content

Richmond karaoke, nightclubs seek longer hours to compete with Vancouver

Business owner says extended restaurant hours in Richmond also have a ‘severe’ impact on his business
Richmond-based Zodiac Karaoke and Pub asked council to extend hours for some karaoke bars and nightclubs in the city.

A group of Richmond karaoke bars and nightclubs are asking city council to extend their business hours so they can better compete with similar businesses in Vancouver.

Kenny Gu, owner of Zodiac Karaoke and Pub on Alexandra Road, and a representative speaking on his behalf, Chuck Puchmayr, made this plea to council in late February.

They represented the pub as well as three other similar businesses in Richmond - No. 88 Music Restaurant, True's Club and Millennium Karaoke.

These businesses are now open until 2 a.m. but they are asking the city to extend their hours and allow them to serve alcohol until 3 a.m.

“Our observation is that young professionals today enjoy entertainment at later hours. Many work late, they like to dine late and they like to experience leisure hour activities at a later time,” said Puchmayr.

He added the city recently extended the liquor hours of some Richmond restaurants to 2 a.m. – some of which offer karaoke – which has “a severe impact” on clubs such as Zodiac because people can stay longer in restaurants, leaving less time to potentially frequent their establishment.

"Our competitors [especially in the Granville Entertainment District] in Vancouver – some of them are able to serve alcohol until 4 a.m... just minutes away from us - have affected us,” said Puchmayr.

“We are, like most entertainment facilities, experiencing the impacts of a slowing economy, inflation, utilities, taxes, cutting into our margins. We are desperately seeking help … so that we may extend our opening hours slightly, primarily on the weekends and holidays."

Clubs have an unfair disadvantage: Business owner

Gu and Puchmayr said nightclubs have an unfair disadvantage because they target customers who prefer a late-night lifestyle. But the current policy allowing them to operate until 2 a.m. means they can only operate five to six hours every day. 

“What business invests $7 million and is only allowed to open for five hours?” said Puchmayr. In comparison, he added, restaurants can operate 24 hours a day.

“Some of the karaoke clubs are open longer but the first two hours, from 7 to 9 p.m., virtually have no business.”

Zodiac has metal detectors at the door and professionally trained staff to ensure the safety of their customers, Puchmayr explained, and its high levels of soundproofing will ensure that the late-night operations will not adversely impact the community.

After the presentation, city council asked staff to look into the possibility of extending operating hours for Richmond karaoke bars and nightclubs and to come back with recommendations.

Got an opinion on this story or any others in Richmond? Send us a letter or email your thoughts or story tips to [email protected]. To stay updated on Richmond news, sign up for our daily headline newsletter.