UPDATE: Boardwalk Confirms Turning Down 1 a.m. Bar Closing Offer
So state left to decide if midnight closing starts Sunday
Jenkinson's and Martell's are confirming they are turning down the town's "compromise" offer to stop serving alcohol at 1 a.m.
Council and Mayor Vincent Barrella voted narrowly on Tuesday night to offer the 1 a.m. bar closing as a compromise, after the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) urged the two parties to try to reach a settlement.
On Wednesday afternoon, the two largest businesses on the boardwalk released the following prepared statement (published here in its entirety):
“The payment of dollars has been inextricably linked to the hours of operation. At each and every meeting with members of the governing body over the past five months, the demand has always been money for extended hours.
The proposal last night was nothing more than an attempt by the mayor and the three members of council to posture a position concerning the hours of closing which has never been discussed previously.
Jenkinson’s and Martell’s have diligently tried to resolve the issues. Numerous meetings over the past five months have proven futile. Talks have broken down.
The Director of the ABC will render his decision by the close of business Friday.”
Marilou Halvorsen, Jenkinson's Director of Marketing, said they would not be commenting further beyond the statement.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Zach Hosseini, an ABC spokesman, said ABC had been notified that the boardwalk businesses had turned the 1 a.m. offer.
However, he said if there is to be no compromise, ABC Director Michael Halfacre will rule on the businesses' request for "a stay" on the ordinance mandating that bars throughout town stop serving alcohol by midnight.
If there is no stay, that ordinance goes into effect on Sunday.
Regardless of whether a stay is granted, a state administrative law judge will then conduct a hearing on the matter and rule whether the ordinance itself should be allowed to take effect, Hosseini said. That ruling would then be either approved or rejected by Halfacre, Hosseini said.
The businesses requested the stay so that they do not have to stop serving at midnight while waiting for a ruling on the ordinance itself.
On Tuesday night, during a break in the Point Beach Council meeting, Ed McGlynn, attorney for Jenkinson's, said he was not sure yet if the ordinance requiring bars throughout Point Beach to stop serving alcohol by midnight would mean that the bars would literally have to close their doors at that time.
He said past practice, as allowed by a council resolution from years ago, has been that Jenkinson's has been allowed to sell food and non-alcoholic beverages until 3 a.m. and then it closes. But he said he does not know if the bars would be able to, or would even choose to, continue serving food and non-alcoholic drinks past midnight, according to the new ordinance.
The ordinance says alcohol cannot be sold or consumed after midnight, but does not specifically say doors must close at midnight. When asked about that, Barrella said the ordinance doesn't mandate that doors close at midnight, but that bars may not find it economically feasible to staff their operations and keep doors open much past that time.