Wynwood’s alcohol permits running dry
Written by Catherine Lackner on May 31, 2016
To propel their neighborhood even further on the path of being an entertainment venue, members of the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) last month discussed changing the way alcohol permits are issued.
“We’re out of warrants,” said board member Joe Furst, referring to city-issued permits that allow a restaurant to serve alcohol. The 30 warrants the district was allotted are all in use, explained Mr. Furst, who is managing director of Wynwood for Goldman Properties. “The code is not very friendly.”
Through negotiations with Miami city attorneys, the BID might be able amend its own rules to allow food-primary restaurants, which derive most of their revenues from meals, to serve beer and wine without a warrant and thereby preserve available warrants for supper clubs and bars, he said.
That would also allow the BID to regulate establishments in which sales of alcohol are the leading revenue generators “so they don’t congregate in one area,” Mr. Furst said.
“Taking existing restaurants off the warrant system would help to push Wynwood in the direction of being a food and beverage destination,” said board member David Polinsky, who is a principal of 250 Wynwood. “It would allow artisanal restaurants to come in and operate. We’d be ready to compete with Coconut Grove any day of the week.”
“We’re continuing to work on it, and it’s moving in the right direction,” Mr. Furst said.
He was not so sanguine about the prospect of alcohol being served past 3 a.m. “This was a suggestion of our food and restaurant friends,” he said. “I’m very opposed to extending operations beyond 3 a.m. all year, but it might be called for on occasion.”
Holding to a 3 a.m. closing time for most of the year, he added, “keeps businesses out that just want to be a storefront during the day.”