By Eric Curl
City officials are already reconsidering at least one restriction in a new alcohol ordinance, although there are plenty more proposals business owners and residents would like to see dropped.
A prohibition against anyone below 21 years old from dining in an alcohol-serving restaurant after 10 p.m., without a parent or legal guardian, appears to be the first victim of public sentiment since the ordinance was announced Friday.
“What form that takes, that will somewhat depend on what we hear from you,” Brandon said.
Brandon’s comments came at the start of the second meeting Tuesday at the Savannah Civic Center concerning the new rules governing alcohol sales, after the restriction had been repeatedly criticized during an earlier meeting that morning.
The news was welcomed, although many of the business owners, in addition to one college student, said they would like to see the city go a step further and reverse an existing prohibition against “minors” under 21 from entering bars that feature live music and other entertainment venues that serve alcohol.
Dollhouse Productions’ owner Peter Mavrogeorgis said the restriction resulted in him having to turn away parents who brought their children to see a performance by musician Art Garfunkel at his West Savannah performance space.
“Art Garfunkel could only serve to bore them or enrich them,” Mavrogeorgis said. “It just seems absurd.”
Travis Coles, general manager of Club One, said Savannah is a college and military town and a bulk of the people in the city have nowhere to go because of the “archaic” rule. Coles suggested the city require a separate license if an establishment’s owner wants to allow those who are 18-20 years old.
“If we screw up, yank that license,” Coles said.
One license that is being proposed, which would be required to operate alcohol selling establishments after midnight, was deemed too costly and burdensome. The license, which would cost $150 for beer and wine and $300 to serve liquor, would replace a “Hybrid” license in place now that allows restaurants to transition into bars.
The license would impact more businesses, even if they do not provide entertainment, said Mike Vaquer, a lobbyist representing the Georgia Restaurant Association.
“This proposal is far too broad,” Vaquer said.
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