Las Vegas city officials explore possibility of open container law in Arts District
By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, August 25, 2022 9:52 am
NEVADA – The Arts District, like the Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street Experience, may soon be able to bring open alcohol into the street, but with some changes.
Last week, city officials in Las Vegas met with numerous business owners in the Arts District to consider enacting an open container legislation in the neighborhood, which has been rapidly growing and popular.
According to the city, there is currently no city regulation that addresses open alcohol containers in the Arts District. The city’s business licensing staff is investigating this and has reached out to certain Arts District business owners for input.”
For the time being, it is only a suggestion, with no draft ordinance, City Council approval, or discussion on the horizon. According to the city, that is merely “the normal course of business.”
As things stand, Main Street merchants appear to be divided on the matter. Some are concerned that it would make the neighborhood less safe, while others feel it will establish the Arts District as an international attraction.
“I’m in the alcohol business, so it seems to me like anybody who owns a tavern or brewery in this area should be in favor of this,” Derek Stonebarger says, owner of Davy’s and ReBar on Main Street. “It makes us unique and makes us marketable.” And it means that news about downtown Las Vegas’ Arts District and Brewery Row will travel across the world.”
According to Stonebarger, who was present at the discussion with municipal officials, the idea as it now exists would not allow people to bring their own open flask or case of beer from home.
Drinks would have to be purchased in establishments, and the drinks would be transferred to a disposable cup when clients went outside.
As Stonebarger stated, it would be marketable in the sense that these cups would be labeled with “Arts District” and “Brewery Row” labels.
“We’re not saying you can go get in your car with a drink. “We’re saying these are walking drinks for you to just walk to your next place,” Stonebarger explained.
He said he wasn’t sure if it would genuinely increase business.
Other owners were wary of the notion. Kim Owens, owner of the Main St. Provisions restaurant across the street, said she’s on the fence and wants more information before moving forward.
“We’ve had some issues on Fremont as of late,” Owens explained, referring to the recent gunshots on the Fremont Street Experience. “And so my biggest concern is that this extremely special neighborhood will lose some of its specialness.”
According to Owens, an open container rule might have unforeseen repercussions, which is prompting some company owners to be concerned.
“What I do think we need to know is how we can control it.” ” she inquired. “How can we ensure our guests’ safety, whether they choosing to imbibe on the street or not?” ”
She believes that an open container policy will increase revenue to her restaurant, but she wants to wait for further facts before choosing whether or not to support it.
For the time being, Nevada Brew Works owner Jason Taylor is opposed. He wasn’t there at the discussion with municipal officials, but he believes it would place unnecessary strain on his employees.
“If you have a lot of people coming in from the street, it’s hard to tell that they’re bringing outside drinks and they’ve been over served,” Taylor explained.
Taylor believes it is reasonable to expect individuals to complete their beverages before going on, but he does not believe anyone should be penalized for an open container offense.
“I think I might err a little bit more on the side of caution,” he remarked. “I think it would probably be best if we don’t necessarily have this enforcement team coming down here and enforcing things. But I don’t think we need to be encouraging people to be walking around the streets drinking.”
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