Bill would make selling beer in restaurants easier

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 12:10am

A bill set to go before the Metro Council on first reading tonight would abolish a law that often prohibits bars and restaurants in residential neighborhoods from selling beer.

Laws regulating alcohol sales at neighborhood establishments in Nashville have always seemed a bit puzzling.

Metro, which regulates beer licensing, prohibits restaurants that are within 100 feet of residences from selling beer. Meanwhile, the sale of liquor, governed by the state, is not beholden to any distance restriction.

Different liquor and beer standards have left some restaurants authorized to serve vodka, tequila and even high-alcohol concentrated beer, but not a Bud Light, for example.

District 5 Jamie Hollin, who represents parts of East Nashville, has proposed an ordinance that would end the paradox. Under his bill, as long as restaurant owners are issued a valid alcohol license by the state, they would be exempt from distance requirements for obtaining beer permits.

The introduction of Hollin’s bill comes less than a month after the council exempted Taco Mamacita, a new eatery in the Edgehill neighborhood, from having to abide by the 100-foot distance requirement.

Taco Mamacita’s exemption followed weeks of community meetings in which the area’s representative, District 19 Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, tried to hash out concerns of concerned neighbors and the restaurant’s owners.

7 Comments on this post:

By: global_citizen on 5/18/10 at 7:22

How long is Tennessee going to cling to these prohibition era laws? I say just clear them all off the books. They were meant for a different time.

The only reason we have so many of these antiquated laws hanging around is because our legislators are afraid to upset the lobbyists. I wish our legislators would not defer so much to lobbyists and start listening to their constituents.

By: govskeptic on 5/18/10 at 7:35

Just what we all want, a beer joint next to our home to help
increase the falling home values. As the value falls the tax
assessor will show it increasing because of potenial increase
to commercial rate as a competing beer joint! Give me a break

By: Magnum on 5/18/10 at 7:51

Gov, I'm betting no one is looking at the home next to you thinking they could turn it into a dive bar if they could just sell beer in a residential neighborhood. This clearly is targeting businesses that already exist and are already selling alcoholic beverages (excluding beer that is).

All of these stupid alcohol laws get to me. I can't buy wine in my grocery store, but I can buy beer. Why is this? I can't buy wine or liquor in say Hermitage, but I can buy porn (or I could drive to Donelson and buy both). Why is this? I don't have access to many wines because I can't buy them online; therefore, I overpay for a limited selection after driving 15 minutes to find a liquor store. Why is this?

Oh that's right, the answer to all my questions is: lobby money.

By: jefathor on 5/18/10 at 8:11

Just ask us East Nashvillians about what "beer joints" next door to us do to our home values. No one's complaining, in fact East Nashville continues to be one of the hottest real estate areas in Nashville. There's a difference between a beer joint and a quality restaurant. These are old laws and Nashville needs to get into the 21st century once and for all.

By: Funditto on 5/18/10 at 9:25

And you can take a gun in a restaurant but can't buy wine at the grocery store? Idiots.

By: on 5/18/10 at 9:56

This could keep people from driving and drinking, to some extent. People can walk from home to the tavern, spend some time with friends having a few drinks, then walk back home. If the old time neighborhood taverns come back, people won't have the need to drive clear across town to socialize with their friends.

By: localboy on 5/18/10 at 11:16

"...people won't have the need to drive clear across town to socialize with their friends." Good point, as long as the friends that want to socialize live in the same 'hood.