At the September 26th meeting, the City Commission introduced a new ordinance regarding the closing hours for any licensed establishment selling and purchasing of alcoholic beverages. It is currently unlawful for any licensed establishment to remain open between 3:00 am and 6:00 am.
In January 2016, the City Commission passed an ordinance to treat all alcoholic beverage establishments equally regardless of their license, and changed the permissible hours of operation. The ordinance changed the closing time from 2:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., and the previous exemption for establishments with special restaurant licenses was deleted.
In July 2016, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College together submitted a letter to the city supporting a 2:30 a.m. closing time.
Further discussion at a July 13, 2016 commission meeting proposed changing the closing time to 3:00 am with alcohol purchasing and consumption ceasing at 2:00 a.m. The city also raised the penalties invoked for ordinance violation.
Although the commission voted on the idea, the actual ordinance was never officially implemented.
The ordinance now being introduced requires that establishments serving alcohol close at 3 a.m. and the sale and consumption of alcohol must end at 2 a.m.
However, some bar owners objected to the language ending consumption at 2 a.m., fearing they would be forced to stop serving alcohol earlier.
Due to these concerns, the commission voted 4-1 in favor of removing that language from the ordinance. The result is that customers will be able to drink until 3 a.m. as long as the alcohol drinks ares purchased before 2 a.m.
The ordinance is set for a public hearing on October 17.