Alcoholic drinks on beach unlikely

Fort Lauderdale City Commission discusses proposal to allow hotels, restaurants on A1A to sell drinks, food

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - It's unlikely hotels and restaurants along A1A will be allowed to serve alcohol on the beach.

Business leaders and city commissioners discussed a proposal just that during a meeting Tuesday.

According to a city commission agenda memorandum, "the proposal is to establish a program whereby hotels and restaurants that front SR A1A could apply for a permit to serve food and beverages to their guests and to the public on the sand, in an area referred to as a 'zone' immediately in front of their property."

But following the meeting, commissioners and business leaders decided to reconsider the proposal without alcoholic beverages.

"What considered me the most from the past few weeks that the alcohol became the main issue and really the issue and what we want to present is to be able to provide service," said Ritz Carlton General Manager Jim Oliver.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor John "Jack" Seiler said he's unsure if allowing alcohol on the beach is legal.

"With some of the legal issues I understand from talking to some lawyers is that these licenses to serve alcohol may not transfer across a state road," said Seiler.

City official plan to research whether serving alcohol on the beach is legal.

The original proposal called for the so-called "zones" to start at Bahia Mar north to the B Ocean. The drinks would be served between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"I think it's great. I mean, you know you're on vacation and sometimes you want to have a beverage," said one beachgoer.

Hotel and restaurant staff would be responsible for cleaning up, but some residents worry about litter and the safety of servers.

"I think it's a lot better to have one employee of a hotel cross the street than it has to have 15, 20 visitors cross the street back and forth," said Westin General Manager Amaury Piedra.

A second proposal will be considered during a later meeting.

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