CHARLESTON, SC – When it comes to bars staying open late in downtown Charleston, things could be changing. A panel picked to study the issue passed its findings along to Charleston Mayor, Joe Riley.
Charleston City Council voted and approved a late night ordinance that will allow bars to stay open until 3:00am, but they can’t serve alcohol after 2:00am.
Nick Gaspers is the General Manager at Mynt, a popular bar and nightclub downtown. “I think it benefits businesses that have late-night kitchens…bars that can actually increase their revenue,” said Gaspers. “Our goal is to kind of figure out a way to make it profitable for us and get folks home safely.”
Gaspers says even though his business will soon be able to stay open an hour later, he doesn’t think they will. “With our business model here, we are more about nightlife, dancing, serving cocktails, and things like that; and obviously if we can’t serve cocktails, it doesn’t really benefit us to stay open an extra hour.
A 90-day soft closing pilot program was approved by city council and is just one of the new recommendations from the late night review committee.
District 4 Charleston City Councilman, Robert Mitchell, told News 2, “I believe all this will help the bar owners. Everybody won’t be crowding the street at one time.”
The city and business owners will also form a non-profit group to help manage late-night activity.
A commission of key stakeholders in the community will also be formed. They’ll meet once a month to better organize things like trash collection for bars, noise control, and a better system for parking.
They’ll be enforcing a new special zoning requirement for all late night operations that fall within 500 feet of areas that have residential zoning.
Councilman Mitchell says this will be a combined effort, but it’s a vital piece of the puzzle to make sure our beautiful city continues to grow.
“I always believe that when all else fails, and businesses fail, the community will still be here. So we have to look at the community, but we need the businesses here for tax revenues.”
City council members say the late night bar moratorium, which went into effect last September, is ending soon. While council members say they don’t know specifically when the new recommendations will be implemented, they hope to see the new ordinance go into effect within the next two months.