Parking lot patios a hit at Port Coquitlam breweries

Tinhouse Brewery in Port Coquitlam plans to open up a patio soon. In the meantime, it has re-opened its lounge after meeting provincial health order requirements. Mario Bartel photo

There’s nothing like a cold beer and relaxing on an outdoor patio and now there will be more of them, at least in Port Coquitlam.

The city has given the green-light to outdoor patio space to three local breweries and one distillery, allowing them to put seating outdoors in parking areas to provide more space for customers as they re-open.

“For customers it’s a complete game changer — they absolutely love it,” said Courteney Brown, owner of Northpaw Brew Co. in Port Coquitlam.

He applied quickly to take advantage of the city’s offer to expand outdoors, and, after getting approvals from PoCo as well as Fraser Health and WorkSafe BC for COVID-19 plans, re-opened to customers, using loading zone parking.

Now, with customers showing up to sit in large, comfy chairs under a canopy, Northpaw is almost up to pre-COVID 19 capacity, and just in time, because shutting down for three moths cost the brewery dearly.

“I’m positive in the sense of being cautiously optimist,” said Brown, who credits Mayor Brad West and city council for understanding the needs, and challenges, of local businesses.

Tinhouse Brewery has also re-opened and founder Phil Smith said he’s hoping to open more patio space in a parking area but has some details to work out.

But Smith said he’s hopeful he can expand soon, in the meantime, Tinhouse is serving up beer indoors — to the appreciation of local customers, who he said are respectful of social distancing restrictions.

“For now we have opened our lounge to the recommendation of the provincial health authority,” he confirmed, noting that people he’s talked to are happy to get out and socialize again, albeit in small groups.

Others looking at expanding outdoors are Taylight and Patina Brewing, as well as Provincial Spirits, who received city approval, according to spokesperson Pardeep Purewal.

The changes come as schools, hair salons, restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses re-open as part of the province’s Phase 2 restart up plan.

• This story originally appeared online at The Tri-City News.

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