Time set for last call at taverns in Chapel Hill

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CHAPEL HILL - Beer drinking is supposed to end by midnight at restaurants with town permits to serve the alcoholic beverage, according to an ordinance passed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen last week.

"We passed on second reading a beer ordinance saying that for a sit-down restaurant - Sambo's, the Mexican restaurant (Las Fiestas) and Red's Family Restaurant Bar and Grill - you can purchase at 11:45 p.m. but consumption must be completed by midnight," Chapel Hill Town Administrator Mike Hatten explained Monday.

"Restaurants can stay open as long as they want, but consumption must stop at midnight," Hatten said.

"It helps guard against folks getting out of there who drink and drive," he said. "And it safeguards the community."

The town's new law went into effect after approval on a unanimous vote during the town board meeting on Monday, Oct. 12, the town administrator said. There have been no enforcement issues and Police Chief Jackie King was to speak with the proprietors of the three restaurants in town who have permits to sell beer by the drink.

"We don't foresee a problem," Hatten said.

The idea of stopping service at 11:45 p.m. and clearing tables and bars at midnight was discussed prior to the board's September meeting, he said. That conversation was discussed between Hatten and the police chief.

During the September meeting, Mayor Carl Cooper voted for the ordinance, thereby breaking a tie. Aldermen Henry Frame, Billy Batte and Marion Joyce voted for the new law. Aldermen Houston "Bucko" Bryant, Pam Elliott, and Horace Hill Jr. voted no.