Miami Beach Commission votes on last call proposals at 2 a.m.
Miami Beach’s elected officials failed to reach a consensus on the perfect cocktail to ban alcohol sales after 2 a.m. citywide, leaving bar, restaurant and nightclub owners on the waiting list for the new ban.
The City Commission on Wednesday approved four competing proposals at first reading and will hold a final vote in April to decide which meets the wishes of Miami Beach residents. In November’s mayoral elections, nearly 57% of voters answered yes to a non-binding question asking them to advance the last call for citywide liquor sales by three hours from 5 a.m.
In a proposal sponsored by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, the city would create a process for bars, restaurants and nightclubs in specific geographic areas of the city to apply for extended hours beyond 2 a.m. Among them: neighborhoods with beachfront hotels with more than 200 rooms, as well as properties on the east side of Collins Avenue from 15th Street to 46th Street, buildings on Washington Avenue between 5th Street and Lincoln Road and properties in the Collins Park area.
The proposed legislation also offered an exclusion for businesses in the Art Deco Cultural District, including Ocean Drive. However, Gelber, whose re-election campaign hinged on his promise to redevelop Ocean Drive and clean up crime in the Art Deco cultural district, was adamant that he did not support granting corporate exemptions. the famous city street.
“There’s a huge desire to reinvent this area,” Gelber said. “No exceptions. That’s it. If we don’t, we slap residents who believe that’s what we’re doing.
Owners of two longtime Ocean Drive watering holes, The Clevelander South Beach Hotel and Mango’s Cafe, have funded a campaign against the 2 a.m. referendum, while prominent developers like Starwood Capital’s Barry Sternlicht Group supported a political action committee for reduced hours.
Commissioner Mark Samuelian sponsored two proposals that only targeted the Art Deco Cultural District. The former would limit the 2 a.m. last call to a geographic area bounded by Euclid Avenue to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, 16th Street to the north, and 5th Street to the south. The second would reduce liquor sales hours on Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue and Espanola Way in South Beach.
And Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez introduced an order that would prohibit the city from allowing any new businesses to operate on liquor licenses at 5 a.m. The measure would exempt “existing liquor establishments with a valid tax receipt issued before March 20, 2022.” These businesses would be allowed to continue selling alcohol until 5 a.m.
After complaints from Gelber and Commissioner David Richardson about the grandfathering of existing bars and nightclubs, Rosen Gonzalez agreed to amend his bill so that the exemption would only remain in effect until the city commission had a final vote on the implementation of the last call at 2 a.m.