City changes rules on serving alcohol outside

alcoholMERIDIAN — Some restaurants in downtown Meridian can legally start serving beer, wine and cocktails to customers dining at tables on sidewalks.

The city council recently changed the rules that regulate alcohol consumption on public streets.

The new policy allows alcohol to be served at tables that restaurants put on sidewalks just outside their buildings, said Michael Goggans, a former city attorney.

City Council president Dustin Markham said this does not mean people can walk up and down a street with a drink in hand.

“Restaurants that are near a heavily populated area where there is consistent pedestrian traffic or an area where people want to sit outside and eat, I think they will take advantage of it and they’ll start adding that to what they provide as a restaurant,” Markham told The Meridian Star.

Markham said that the change will apply to restaurants that join the city’s right of way and have immediate access to a public sidewalk.

Charles Frazier, owner of Weidmann’s Restaurant, said although the change won’t affect his restaurant now, it is good news for downtown dining. Weidmann’s has tables on its balcony but not on the sidewalk.

“The effect on our business would be negligible, except for the fact that more people might come downtown. It certainly won’t change the way we are conducting business at this point,” Frazier said. “We may consider putting tables out there. I think that any time you can allow people to that sort of thing, it’s better for the city and it’s certainly better for downtown. It’s the sort of environment that we like down here.”

 

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