Have you ever been sitting in a Yellowknife pub on a beautiful day, surrounded by darkened or shuttered windows and wondered why you can’t soak up the sun? What’s with these gloomy curtains? Why are drinkers being hidden away like a bunch of vampires? Ask a server or a bartender and you’ll be told a few conflicting answers about this one, but most commonly that it’s something to do with a Liquor Board regulation.
Nope. According to Jaimie Graham, General Manager/Registrar of the NWT Liquor Licensing Board, “there has not been nor is there presently a statutory requirement regarding bar windows.” She even went back to the previous Liquor Act after our query and found nothing to do with windows there either.
When we asked bar owners and managers around town about it, they pretty much all claimed that it had been part of their regulations years ago (although no one could give specifics), but that was along with a lot of other rules, like not being allowed to take pictures in bars, etc. from days of yore.
So, this window thing seems to continue for a few reasons. Bars are still cautious about a restriction on advertising the sale and consumption of alcohol, as well as general things like providing privacy for their patrons. The main reason cited, though: atmosphere. It’s about getting cozy with that pint, and getting the lighting right for events even in the brightest months. You’re in a pub, after all. You’re supposed to be thinking about the drink in front of you and not about what a lovely day you’re missing outside.