BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Bar owners across the Birmingham area are feeling the impact of the Alabama ABC Board’s emergency decision to ban alcohol sales after 11 p.m.
The board made the decision July 17 with the order going into immediate effect Aug. 1, although it was not enforced right away.
For many bars that are open late, the hours before close are when they make a large portion of their sales.
“On the weekend, that’s where the big money is,” said Ryan Pryor, owner of Sleek and HUSH lounge in Five Points.
Pryor said not being able to serve drinks from 11 p.m. to closing time forces him to lose out on at least 30-35% of business. The bars have re-assessed how they market, hoping to bring in more people at earlier hours.
“We’re doing day parties on the weekends, at Sleek and HUSH, and we’re just doing all kinds of special that we’d never do if we didn’t have to,” Pryor said.
At Black Market 280, they’re also seeing the impact of the new ordinance.
“We normally close at 2 a.m., and we get a pretty heft service industry crowd that comes in here after they close their restaurants,” Black Market general manager Rachael Moore said. “We didn’t see any of them last night.”
Moore said the pandemic has already cost them a lot of business. Now, this new ordinance is costing them more.
“We understand the reason for it, it just hurts the business a lot,” Moore said.
The emergency ruling remains in effect until Nov. 29. The ABC Board can rescind the order before November if they feel the state is flattening the curve.
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