DDA explores change in alcohol sales

Posted at 7:53 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 19:53:03-05

Cutting back alcohol sales from 4 to 2 a.m.? That idea was up for discussion at a closed-door meeting of city officials and business owners in downtown West Palm Beach.

Some business owners left the meeting not wanting to talk about it. Others said the discussion was helpful.

The city administrator says stopping liquor sales two hours earlier is part of an effort to make the city more family-friendly.

“We want to have Clematis Street be a destination that families can come to, that people that want to be entertained come to,” said Jeff Green, the city administrator. “One the concerns of the mayor is we don't want to have a reputation of being one thing or the other, we want to be welcoming to everybody.”

Nearly 160 businesses are licensed to sell alcohol. Some say cutting back hours from 4 to 2 a.m. would seriously hurt their business, and they’re strongly against the idea.

"We survive on that late-night business," said Joshua Hudes, the owner of the Clematis Pizza. "That means six to eight hours a week of revenue that the smaller businesses would get jeopardized by not having those busines hours."

Still, some say the meeting gave them a chance to air their concerns.

“It went good,” said Michael Sotelo, the event manager at the Tap House. “It went from everyone being heated, to putting into a discussion, and the city really finding out what the alcohol establishments and the restaurants want and need,”

Those in the meeting say the mayor is behind the push to cut back alcohol sales.

Some say they’re skeptical of the proposal.

“Do i think there's some politicians and some people working in top floors of city hall [who] came up with this idea that this is a good idea without fleshing it out, yes,” said Maurice Costigan, the owner of O’Shea’s Irish Pub.

Today’s meeting was a discussion. From here, the city would need to draft an ordinance and present it to city commissioners for approval.