Sunday alcohol sales start this week

Published 1:33 pm Friday, April 13, 2012

The bar at Beef O’Brady’s restaurant, which is licensed to sell beer, wine and spirits, will begin serving alcoholic beverages on Sundays beginning this Sunday, April 15.

This Sunday will be the first time Bainbridge restaurants can begin serving alcoholic drinks on Sundays, after voters approved the change.

Chuck Reeves, manager of Beef O’Brady’s on Tallahassee Highway, had spoken in favor of letting voters weigh in on Sunday alcohol sales at a city council meeting last October.

Reeves, who believes letting restaurants serve alcohol on Sundays could help Bainbridge’s economy, admitted he doesn’t anticipate an immediate impact.

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“We’ll probably see more people come in on Sundays when the NFL season starts back this fall,” Reeves said. “You may a few people that will come in to watch the NASCAR races and have a beer, but baseball and basketball doesn’t draw much of a crowd.”

The City Council approved amending the city’s alcohol ordinance on April 3, but chose to have the effective starting date fall after Easter Sunday. By state law, restaurants approved to sell alcohol on Sundays can only do so between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Leslie Bernier, manager of the Charter House Inn, said her motel’s lounge won’t be open for business on Sundays. Although it serves short-order food when the lounge is open Monday through Saturday, the motel doesn’t have a true restaurant, she said.

One way the motel’s lounge, “The Landing,” will benefit is that it will be able to stay open until 2 a.m. on Saturday night. Previously the lounge, as well as other bars, had to stop selling alcohol at midnight on Sunday.

Lance Godwin, the manager of Bonnie Blue House on Calhoun Street, said he doesn’t plan to open up on Sundays.

Bainbridge voters approved a referendum in favor of changing city ordinance to allow Sunday alcohol sales by restaurants. However, voters defeated a separate referendum that would have allowed package sales of alcohol on Sunday by grocery and convenience stores.

On Nov. 8, voters in 127 Georgia cities and counties voted on Sunday alcohol sales referendums, according to the Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA). Of those, 105 were successful, 21 failed and the result of one was ruled not to have counted.

According to the GFIA, Americus and Albany are among the South Georgia cities which defeated the Sunday sales referendum for restaurants. Ashburn, Perry, Warner Robins and Valdosta were among the South Georgia cities which passed the referendums.