I often wondered how communities and the people who live in reserves managed without having a bar where alcohol is served. I live in a community where there are two bars. When the community of Kuujjuarapik opened the second bar, stories and predictions of the downfall of society rose with a fury but subsided when the drinking at homes lessened and the amount of booze ordered from Radisson went to an all time low.

I come from a so-called ‘dry’ town, where the bar is over 100 kilometers away in Radisson. A gate was put up and raised the hopes of controlling the flow of alcohol into Chisasibi. This tactic only raised the pressures of individuals to drink even harder and faster! Within two decades, the amount of money spent ouside of the community rivaled the amount of funds used to finance small countries. I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons of why or why not a community should think of having a bar in their town.


You know where loved ones are at all times

Profits stay in town

Walk to the bar

Owned by community or members

Corporate meetings can be held in town

Bootlegging will drop

If membership driven, you are accountable to them

You are inside and warm during the winter

If you misbehave, you can be barred

You can drink one or two beers

You get to keep your license if you walk

People get to live longer

Profits can go to social programs, sports, etc…


No idea where your loved ones are

Profits go south

Drink and drive

Owned by greedy people who don’t care when you leave the bar at closing time

Corporate meetings in town where bars operate

Bootleggers are kings

You are accountable to no one

Freeze to death

Misbehavior is rampant and ignored

You can drink one or two cases of beer

You can lose everything if you drink and drive

Unnecessary deaths

Profits go to owners early retirement

And so on and on… I may seem to be in favour of drinking but this is not so, I’m in favour of a controlled environment that encourages individuals to drink responsibly. I’ve seen many problems arise from people who’s drinking goes unchecked. I’ve seen entire communities evade this problem and try many methods of controlling drinking from outright banning, checking baggage, breaking laws, you name it, but I’ve seen only one community where there is a bar and I have to admit, that having a bar is by far the best solution to many social problems. It is not the cure of all cures, but if it means that it will save lives, then it is worth it.