South Beach changes: 2 a.m. last call for alcohol sales

Area residents complain of noise and uptick in violence, while local business owners fear downturn in business

Pilot program will cut off last call at 2 a.m. in South Beach. In November, voters will have the last say.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Should the final sale of alcohol in the entertainment district of South Beach end at 2 a.m.? That was the question being discussed by Miami Beach Commissioners.

On Wednesday, May 12, Miami Beach Commissioners met at a City of Miami Beach Commission meeting to discuss whether the sale of alcohol should continue or change to a final call at 2 a.m.

Commissioners proposed an ordinance to roll back the final call of alcohol sales in the city’s entertainment district from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. at the request of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, who said it’s in the city’s best interest. The amendment affects the hour of alcohol sales in the mixed-use area south of 16th street in South Beach.

Late Wednesday afternoon, a final vote was taken and the changes passed. The pilot program will last until November, when it’s put on a ballot for Miami Beach voters to decide.

For now, the 44 establishments south of 16th street that are still allowed to sell alcohol until 5 a.m. will have to make some changes. Local residents and neighbors have been complaining of violence, noise, and more.

Although the 2 a.m. last call ordinance was first approved last month in April, now, local businesses in the entertainment district of South Beach are stressed and concerned that the final call will hurt their business.

“Miami Beach has matured,” says prominent real estate developer R. Donahue Peebles. “It has matured way beyond these nightclubs. These nightclubs do not offer anything more to our community than an amenity, and that amenity doesn’t need to go on until 5 a.m. Frankly, it doesn’t need to go on until 2 a.m. It should go on until 12 a.m.”

“We are at a point where they take so much more from our community than what they give,” continued Peebles. “They are deterring future investment and hotel development, for example, because they are driving down rate due to the environment.”

However, those opposing the proposed ordinance stated their side.

“There has been no hard evidence that going from 5 in the morning to 2 in the morning will reduce crime,” argued Alexander Tachmes of the Clevelander Hotel on South Beach. “The only attempt to that has been from the testimony of your police chief, whom I respect and consider a friend, but certainly not an independent expert since he works for you.”

“I would urge you, before you take this monumental step of rolling back the hours of 44 businesses across the city, make sure this will serve the desired purpose,” says Tachmes.

About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.