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Alcohol service may end two hours earlier in Coconut Grove

Grove dwellers from the University of Miami might want to rethink their plans as early as this weekend.

Miami city commissioners voted 4-0 to cut off alcohol sales in downtown Coconut Grove at 3 a.m., as opposed to the current cutoff time of 5 a.m.

Commissioner Marc Sarnoff told his fellow commissioners that the new cutoff time was to change the cultural landscape of the Grove. He also cited increased incidents of crime during this time, The Miami Herald reported.

Sarnoff said the Grove should no longer serve as a late-night retreat for the college students who fill up its bars and restaurants.

“Coconut Grove needs to start servicing the wealthy people,” The Herald reported Sarnoff as saying at a Jan. 24 city meeting.

As a result of his statements, many called his remarks elitist, and UM students were quick to comment.

“The bars should stay open until they stop making money,” Mike Lewan, a junior, said. “And with UM students, that could be all night.”

Most of the bars popular with the college crowd, such as Sandbar and Tavern, already close before 3 a.m., but many students were more offended by how they felt the city viewed them than the actual ruling itself.

“I don’t really stay out later than 3 a.m., but I still think it’s unfair for the city to tell us we’re not welcome,” Lauren Michal, a senior, said. “We work so hard during the week and once Thursday or Friday rolls around we ask for one or two nights to have fun in the Grove. That’s all we ask for.”

Other students questioned the reasoning behind the decision.

“What are they trying to accomplish?” sophomore Alicia Mucci said. “What they gain from more wealthy people eating and shopping in the area won’t make up for the business we give them.”

Some wondered whether this new ruling will have an effect on pre-gaming plans, or if bar hoppers will head to the Grove earlier.

“I don’t think it will make a difference,” Justin Lichtenstaedter, a sophomore, said. “People don’t think that far in advance. They aren’t going to be thinking they need to start drinking more at nine because they have to stop at three.”

While students are concerned about where they’ll have to find their late-night Moose Juice, the people behind the bar are more worried about what the change will do to business.

“Of course the new cutoff is going to affect us,” said Mike Pemberton, a bouncer at a bar that UM students frequent. He asked that the bar not be named. “To make a long story short, it’s going to kill the Grove.”

Even venues that close before three are confused about the reasoning behind the change.

“What wealthy people go out at 3 a.m.?” said Manny Hernandaz, a waiter at TuTu Tango’s. “If they drive the UM students out we will have no one pretty to look at.”

Some students admitted that the decision won’t have an effect on them, and some said it could even be seen as a positive change.

“Three a.m.? People are usually finished by then,” Catherine Quinn, a sophomore, said. “Or at least they should be. They probably don’t need anymore.”

The topic will be discussed again on second reading at this Thursday’s regular city commission meeting. If approved, it will go into effect immediately.

Veronica Sepe may be contacted at v.sepe@umiami.edu.

Closing times

South Beach: Clubs close at 4 or 5 a.m.
Downtown Miami: 5 a.m., plus there are after hours clubs that stay open until the afternoon such as Space; Gold Rush in Downtown Miami is open 24-hours
Sunset Tavern in South Miami: every night until 5 a.m.
Bougainvillea’s by Sunset Place: 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday

February 11, 2008

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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