Palmetto Sunrise: Charleston re-thinks midnight bar ban

Charleston City Council gave the midnight ordinance preliminary approval, but some members now are saying they acted too hastily. Paul Zoeller/Staff.

Come 2 a.m., King Street in the Holy City of Charleston rivals any great American thoroughfare in its display of unbridled debauchery.

Some had hoped to put a damper on the perpetual fiesta. Now, the Post and Courier's Diane Knich reports, at least some on City Council are re-thinking their tune on a midnight bar and restaurant ban.

Local businesses ­- which largely hadn't weighed in before - plan to show up in force to a public meeting Thursday.

If the ordinance passed the way it's written today, new businesses selling alcoholic beverages in the heart of the historic tourist and nightlife district would have to close at midnight instead of 2 a.m. The district includes the Market, a portion of East Bay Street, all of King Street and much of Meeting Street.

The ordinance also would prohibit many businesses within it from operating between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., including food stores, gas stations, restaurants, bars and other establishments that sell alcohol. It would not apply to restaurant and bars in establishments, such as hotels, that have more than 20 living or sleeping units.

Aside from confusing thousands of regulars, the ban threatens the businesses that built the area into what it is, opponents said. As one put it: "They put their blood, sweat and tears and their money into it."


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