A proposed city ordinance change would make it almost impossible for bars outside of downtown to maintain their 3 a.m. liquor license, says one local bar owner.
Hess was notified of the changes by letter from Regulated Industries Division last week. "All it really says is they want to reduce the number of 3 a.m. licenses. The idea is that 3 a.m. liquor licenses should be only in trade areas."
Considering the hits local bars took following the smoking ban and enduring a bad economy, Hess says taking his 3 a.m. license would be enough to close his business.
"We've spent a fortune in the last year. We had the smoking ban, and that knocked my business 40 percent. And I said, 'I'll go out and get a 3 a.m. license and build a deck behind my building'. It's very expensive just to get the license, but when we finally did get it, the board voted unanimously to give us the 3 a.m. license. I started building my deck and just opened it last Friday.
"The late night people will lose their jobs, that's all there is to it, and most of my staff lives right here in Westport."
According to Hess, who's been in touch with other bar owners, the change would affect the Caddy Shack, Club Deja Vu, the News Room, Red Front, the Riot Room, Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club, Hannibals Waldo Bar and Grill, Flo's Polka Dot Lounge, JC's Sports Bar, and DiCarlo's Mustard Seed.
Regulated Industries hasn't returned a call for comment, but we'll update the post when we hear from them.