The Columbia City Council has granted a request from restaurant and bar owners extending the hours to which alcohol can be served outside the premises -- just in time for warm weather. The decision allows owners to serve alcohol outside until midnight and for alcohol to be consumed inside until 1 a.m.
The new regulation specifically affects restaurants that have a sidewalk café area outside their buildings. Kurt Mirtsching of Shakespeare's Pizza said there is a distinct difference between a sidewalk café and a patio.
"A sidewalk café is public property on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant that we get to use, but we're subject to certain regulations," Mirtsching said. "A patio is property that is owned or rented or leased by the restaurant or bar."
Executive Director of the Downtown Community Improvement District, Carrie Garnter, thinks although these regulations might be modest, they still have an effect on the outdoor dining experience.
"Previously, we required a food order and we had what I guess you would call last call at 10 p.m," Garnter said. "This extended that to midnight."
The ordinance goes into effect immediately.