Elliot wrote:But you can't. A rumor is tearing through downtown Madison bars that there is a law on the books that says you can't drink alcohol outside after midnight. It says that tables and patrons may remain outside until 1am, but drinks gotta be inside at midnight. The bar I work at was paid a visit by a 'city official' letting us know about this rule, which has apparently been on the books since 1998. It would be my guess that DMI has been putting pressure on the city to enforce this rule. Another bar I know was recently paid a visit by police officers at 12:05 AM who demanded that all drinks go inside.
IF this law is actually on the books, and the city has been completely lax in enforcement, isn't it the city's responsibility to send a letter to all bars effected to let them know of they're breaking a law that hasn't been enforced in a decade?
I find the law in and of itself to be dumb, but the sudden enforcement reprehensible.
DMI had nothing to do with it. We happened to notice a couple bars (Amy's, Orpheum) served until 1 or later while others (Irish Pub, Hawk's) always had their cafes cleared of drinks by 12:30 and torn down by 1.
We checked with Hawk's and Irish Pub and found out ourselves about the specific cafe restrictions. Both Orpheum and Amy's were not following the sidewalk cafe ordinances. Sidewalk cafe restrictions are not high priority with police, especially at 1AM, so we did not know the exact restrictions until we looked them up.
It's clearly not appropriate to allow some businesses to operate illegally while others follow the rules so we did talk to the bars which didn't follow the ordinances. Both said they thought they were following the rules. Well, now they are.
We never demanded all drinks go inside. I personally told both bars to let people finish but to stop serving outside. There was no exigent reason (safety or health violations) to immediately toss everybody out. So we did not.
It is not the City's responsibility to send letters to bars to remind them of the laws they must follow. It is the responsibility of bar owners and managers to know the laws and license conditions under which they operate.
As for enforcement, no one was cited as a result of the violations although reports were done and it is up to the City Attorney's Office to determine if any sanctions are to be imposed.
We also stopped at Jenna's and told them they were in violation of sidewalk cafe restrictions but later (maybe a half hour) realized that they fell outside the restricted operating areas. I immediately went back and spoke to the manager about our mistake in geography and apologized. The Capitol Mall Concourse restrictions only apply to the 10 blocks of the streets around the Square and Jenna's is not within that area and can serve until 1AM in its cafe.
See the following for details:
LICENSES AND PERMITS Sec. 9.13(6)(j)3.
3. Sidewalk Cafes with Alcohol Beverage License.
a. Consumption of alcohol beverages in all sidewalk cafes shall be limited to persons seated at tables in the sidewalk cafe site. In the case of sidewalk cafes having an alcohol beverage license, food service shall be required to be available at all times the sidewalk cafe is open. (ORD-06-00047, 4-22-06)
b. Liability insurance covering the City of Madison and the sidewalk cafe owner for the licensed sidewalk cafe site will be required, including insurance to cover liquor liability, to the extent specified by the City of Madison Risk Management Department.
c. Each sidewalk cafe serving alcohol beverages shall be responsible for policing the area of the sidewalk cafe to be sure that customers are of the legal drinking age and that alcohol beverages are not removed from the premises.
d. There shall be no sale of alcohol for consumption at a sidewalk cafe after the time approved by the ALRC and specifically indicated on the ownerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s alcohol beverage license until normal opening of business each day. In addition, all containers of intoxicating beverages shall be removed from the tables of the sidewalk cafe and the sidewalk cafe area during those times.
i. For the State Street Special Assessment District, with the exception of the Capitol Concourse, but including Gorham Street from Wisconsin Avenue to University Avenue and University Avenue to Park Street, service of alcohol in sidewalk cafes shall stop no later than 11:30 p.m., with all alcohol off the table by 12:00 a.m. and the sidewalk cafÃƒÂ© closing at 1:00 a.m. (Am. by Ord. 13,613, 5-21-04)
ii. In all other areas of the City of Madison, alcohol shall be off of the table by 1:00 a.m.
e. (R. by Ord. 13,616, 5-21-04)
f. All Sidewalk Cafe alcohol beverage licenses within the jurisdiction of the ALRC shall expire on June 30 each year and be subject to renewal pursuant to Chapter 38 of the Madison General Ordinances. (Cr. by Ord. 13,272, 3-11-03)
(Am. by ORD-07-00062, 5-18-07)
(6) Regulations and Procedures for Vending on the State Street Mall/Capitol Concourse.
(a) Scope and Definition of Mall/Concourse: The physical design of the State Street Mall/Capitol Concourse Improvement District as defined by Resolution No. 25,620, adopted by the Common Council on November 13, 1973; Resolution No. 33,431, adopted by the Common Council on September 12, 1978; and by Resolution No. 35,194, adopted by the Common Council on December 11, 1979, is suited to street selling of handcrafted goods, personally prepared food and limited goods by contiguously located street level or corresponding non street level merchants and sidewalk cafes subject to such regulations as necessary to maintain the orderly use of the public streets and to protect the public health. The Mall/Concourse is defined to include the 100 through 800 blocks of the State Street Mall and the Capitol Concourse consisting of the first blocks of North and South Carroll Streets, the first blocks of East and West Main Streets, the first blocks of North and South Pinckney Streets and the first blocks of East and West Mifflin Streets as well as the additional areas included in the State Street Mall/Capitol Concourse Improvement District, Elizabeth Link Peace Park and the Municipal Building Vending Area. (Am. by ORD-07-00193, 12-20-07)
Sorry to have engaged in such reprehensible behavior.