‘Small bar’ ordinance back before city commission Monday

Monday, Mar. 13, 2023–6:43 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

The Rome City Commission is set to hold second reading of an ordinance to establish a small bar category for alcohol licenses when it meets Monday night.

A similar ordinance failed to pass by one vote in January.

The proposed ordinance recommended by the Rome Alcohol Control Commission seeks to eliminate the 50-50 food-to-drink ratio for liquor sales with some restrictions.

The establishments would have to be small — no more than 1,800 square feet, or 2,200 square feet with outside service. Additionally, they can only serve from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; they can’t charge an admission fee; and any entertainment must be preapproved by the Alcohol Control Commission.

One issue that has been raised is the fairness to full-service restaurants that have to meet the 50-50 ratio.

There is also the issue of a reduced liquor pouring license fee for small bars that is a part of the ordinance.

During the last city commission meeting, Steve Smith, director of operations for Harvest Moon and Vogue downtown, spoke against the ordinance. He told commissioners he opposes it in its entirety but also pointed out specifics.

“Number one is the definition of a small bar,” he said. “It’s defined in the proposed amendment as being 1,800 to 2,200 square feet. The Dark Side bar at Harvest Moon, which is arguably one of the larger, high-volume bars on broad Street, is quite a bit smaller at around 1,100 square feet. It goes to about 1,500 when you include the outdoor seating. In fact, I can think of no full-service restaurant operator that has a bar that is this large.”

Alcohol variance requests back on commission agenda

Also Monday, the commission could revisit two alcohol variance requests that were tabled during the last meeting.

Brandon Pledger, owner of Combat Market at 214 Broad Street, is asking for sales of general merchandise, coffee, and firearms be used to comply with the food/drink ratio.

Nathan Roberts, whose proposed business to known as Steel N Spirits at 409 Broad Street, would like to be able to meet the food-to-drink ratio through the sale of reclaimed steel and ornamental iron sales.

Other agenda items

The city commission is expected to approve a contract with Archer Western Construction, LLC for Phase 1 of the reverse osmosis water treatment facility and consider proposals for disc golf course at the GE Trails and near the Bob Moore Bridge downtown

The Rome Police Department’s Officer of the Year will also be cognized during Monday’s meeting which begins at 6:30 p.m. at Rome City Hall.

The caucus starts at 5 p.m.

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