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Liquor license renewals could be delayed by city

By Kevin Elliott

Two dozen Birmingham establishments serving alcohol could have delays with annual liquor license approved by the city if outstanding code violations and/or debts to the city aren’t addressed before Monday, March 28.

Birmingham city commissioners at their meeting on Monday, February 28, approved liquor license renewals for 14 establishments in the city. City commissioners annually review and renew liquor licenses held by drinking establishments in the city. The process allows staff to identify outstanding debts owed to the city or issues identified. The city’s fire, police, building, planning and treasury departments conduct individual reviews of each location to ensure ordinance regulations are being followed.

Those locations with outstanding issues or violations are scheduled to appear at a public hearing on March 28 with the city commission. City manager Tom Markus said he expects the majority, if not all, of the establishments to address the issues prior to the meeting.

“I expect that by the time we get to March 28, you will have very few of these left,” Markus said. “This gives us a month to reiterate the concern about why we are calling for a hearing. Most will be corrected before then.”

Markus said there are many outstanding restaurants in the community, but others appear to be challenging the status quo, in that there have been some with continual infractions, many tied to outdoor dining. Other issues have occurred because the city failed to bill the establishment appropriately.

“One of my pet peeves is when I can’t walk down the sidewalk,” Markus said. “They very purpose of a sidewalk is for mobility of our public. It’s not the primary purpose to have outdoor dining. That’s secondary in my book.

“We had almost daily instruction to certain restaurants in this community to get the chairs out of the walkway, to get the stands, garbage cans, planters and everything else out, on a regular basis,” Markus said. “I contribute that to some restaurants at the management/owner level to convey to those managers. They have a communication issue amongst the organization. I don’t want our staff managing these restaurants, on the street level especially. They have this figured out when it comes to health standards, but some don’t have it figured out when it comes to the walkway and public rights-of-way in our community.”

Businesses scheduled to appear at the March 28 city commission public hearing include: 220 Merrill; Adachi Restaurant; All Seasons of Birmingham; Bella Piatti; Birmingham 8 Theater; Birmingham Pub; Churchill’s Bistro/Cigar Bar; Daxton; Dick O'Dow’s Irish Pub; Griffin Claw Brewing Company; Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse; Luxe Bar and Grill; Maple Road Tap Room (Whole Foods); Mare Mediterranean; Papa Joe’s; Pernoi; Phoenicia; Salvatore Scallopini; Slice/Shift/Sidecar; Social Kitchen and Bar; Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro; The Townsend; Toast; and Townhouse.

Commissioners approved liquor license renewals for Brooklyn Pizza; Community House; Elie’s Mediterranean; Emagine Palladium/Ironwood Grill; Fleming's; Forest Grill; Hazel’s; La Strada Cafe; Lincoln Hills Golf Course; Mad Hatter; Market North End; Springdale Golf Course; Streetside Seafood; and The Morrie.

“We are lucky to have such a wonderful, vibrant town because of these establishments,” mayor pro tem Pierre Boutros said. “Many of these violations are very minor issues that can be fixed, and I hope there would be fewer in the future.”


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