Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Outside seating/alcohol

Well you would have thought the City Council would be done debating this, but - well - no.

Ward 2 City Councillor Greg Earls - his ward includes most of downtown - wanted to suspend the rules and act on the amended ordinance about alcohol consumption on public ways but that didn't work.

"I'm fairly confident that this makes sense and is in keeping with other communities," he said.

Unless it has a special meeting about the shared health services agreement, the City Council isn't meeting again until mid-August (4 weeks).

Well, as Earls added, the season is flying by and these poor businesses need the outdoor alcohol service.

Actually, I think it's just the one business - The Port Tavern - although the Oregano application with changes is still sitting in committee after being rebuffed by the state alcohol commission.

But, as usual, there is a larger issue here and that is: why was the License Commission giving approvals for outdoor alcohol service when there was an ordinance on the books against such a thing?

They did make their approval contingent upon approval of the City Council's License & Permits committee, but still.

As At-large Councillor Katie Ives said, "The License Commission should have held back on their decision," adding that it was "putting the cart before the horse."

People seem to think that objections to violations of procedure are objections to serving alcohol at outside seating.

But no - there is a process, there are laws, and they should be followed.

Perhaps the Port Tavern should review the menu, which has no lunch specials and is thus rather pricey for lunch.

Plus, when I was there on Friday with a group of about 10 people, at least 3 of them, upon ordering a beer, were told the place doesn't carry that brand (different brands). Not to mention the fact that the waitress griped about separate checks ("It's not my favorite thing to do, but OK.")

But Oregano - the place has really improved, which is a credit to executive chef Jamie Parsons and owner Claude Elias. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is, well ... we know what it is.

Good job, gentlemen. Hope you can keep afloat until you get permission to serve alcohol outside.

P.S. I don't know about firetrucks on Inn St.; I only know the Fire Chief had to approve whatever scheme Oregano had for a barrier between the alcohol-consuming patrons and the general public.

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