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Passenger on party bus says group played by the rules

Party bus rider fires back

A Downtown Vancouver bar manager sparked outrage on social media after he Tweeted that a massive party bus with over 20 people tried to enter his establishment Saturday night. 

And while the manager wrote that the group was "shocked and angry" when they were denied entry, one of the people who rode on the party bus says the group didn't try to go into the bar. In fact, he claims that they didn't even interact with bar staff. 

In a phone interview, Patrick McWilliams, 25, says he and his friends decided to take a party bus to Downtown Vancouver from Langley to save money and have some fun. He says there were only 14 people on the bus.

"If you take a cab from the Fraser Valley into Vancouver it costs like 250 bucks," he explains. "With a party bus, you pay about $500 but split between 10 people or more that's a great deal. Plus, it's more fun."

McWilliams says the group rented a party bus from Boss Limosine Service, a Surrey-based company. 

"The seating was all around the edge of the bus, but they didn't give us instructions about distancing once we were on the bus," notes McWilliams. "But no alcohol was allowed."

Once the group arrived in Granville Street's entertainment district, McWilliams says they decided to get off the bus. While that happened to be near the Belmont Hotel, he states that the group did not plan on going there. Instead, they planned to split into separate groups and go to different locations. 

"I went with five people to the Fountainhead Pub on Davie. Once we were in, we sat at two separate tables of three and I had a really nice conversation with the manager," explains McWilliams.

Scotty Larin, Bar Manager at the Fountainhead Pub, says he doesn't specifically remember meeting McWilliams, but he does remember having a conversation with a young man about the rules concerning seating during the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, he says the group he recalls was a group of seven, which is why they had to be split into two tables and could not move between tables. 

"I meet so many people in a night that's it is hard to remember all of the names," Larin notes. "But it could have been him."

While McWilliams acknowledges that a girl from his group of friends may have asked to use the washroom at the Belmont's Living Room Bar, he says the group did not try to enter the bar.

"People have a mentality that we are in Phase 1 - we aren't. We followed all the rules. If we weren't allowed to be in a party bus we wouldn't have been," notes McWilliams. "A lot of people are throwing me under the bus, no pun intended.

"I'm getting rude comments and DMs, and I feel like that Don guy [bar manager at the Living Room Bar] is using this to get business for his bar."

In a Tweet, Don Falconer, bar manager of the Living Room Bar, quipped: "Take your rolling penthouse party somewhere else."



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