Miami Beach moves to tighten alcohol sales in South-of-Fifth neighborhood

Move follows 2 a.m. ban on alcohol sales at sidewalk cafes

Jun.June 29, 2016 12:00 PM

UPDATED June 29, 5:30 p.m.: Miami Beach took further steps to tighten alcohol sales on Tuesday when the city’s planning board approved sending an ordinance to the city commission that will restrict alcohol sales in the city’s South-of-Fifth or SoFi neighborhood.  

The new rules would ban alcohol sales indoors after 2 a.m. at new establishments and would also ban outdoor alcohol sales after 12 a.m. at new establishments. Six businesses with current permits to sell alcohol until 5 a.m. will not be affected by the regulations under a grandfather clause. While the proposed ordinance tightens regulations on alcohol sales, it extends patron service hours in outdoor hotel seating areas in the South-of-Fifth neighborhood from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.  

The ordinance was proposed by commissioner Michael Grieco in response to complaints from residents who have become increasingly vocal about what they say are rising noise levels from establishments that serve alcohol in the exclusive neighborhood.

Retired attorney Frank Del Vecchio, who is a longtime neighborhood activist told The Real Deal the ordinance and other measures to restrict alcohol sales on Miami Beach “reflect the success of new residential development in much of South Beach, where commissioners have realized quality of life and residential property values are adversely affected by late night bars and clubs.”  

The proposed ordinance is just the latest move by the city to tighten alcohol sales in specific neighborhoods on Miami Beach, mostly in South Beach. Similar 2 a.m. closing times were recently approved for the operation of new bars and restaurants on the west side of South Beach adjacent to Alton Road and West Avenue.  

In May Miami Beach commissioners unanimously approved a ban on alcohol sales at sidewalk cafes from 2 to 8 a.m. The move was strongly opposed by many restaurant owners — especially those on Ocean Drive who said the ordinance would do little to curb increasingly disorderly and violent behavior in the area, because people drinking from open containers outside their establishments were causing much of the trouble.   

Concerns over the situation on Ocean Drive escalated this week after Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine posted a letter on Facebook from City Attorney Raul Aguila that seemed to confirm rumors that a strip club that currently operates in Miami Gardens could be opening a similar establishment on Ocean Drive. Aguila’s letter stated “the city has received notification of an individual that has acquired the naming rights for the King of Diamonds and intends on opening some type of business establishment at 1330 Ocean Drive.” City officials immediately pledged to close any strip club that opened at the site. Daniel Sands, an attorney with the firm Stock Folk & Kon that represents King of Diamonds told TRD Wednesday, “The ownership of King of Diamonds has nothing to do with this South Beach club.”    

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