Now guests can get alcohol in Hannibal Square restaurants until 2am.
An new Ordinance amendment was approved by Winter Park City Council giving the same hours of sale of alcoholic beverages that exist within the City at-large to the businesses within the New England Avenue portion of the Hannibal Square Neighborhood Commercial district.
This means the restaurants in this area (Chez Vincent, Hannibals, Armando's, Pepe's Cantina and Mynt) can all serve alcohol until 2am.
Also, a second live music and sound ordinance was amended, removing an hour of time Hannibal Square restaurants can play live music, taking the limit from 11pm to 10pm.
The ordinances are intended to provide consistency on Park Avenue and New England Avenue by establishing the same hours of alcoholic beverage sale and consumption and the same rules for noise control.
In 1995/1996 when the CRA evolution of New England Avenue, there was a serious concern about the impact that new bars and restaurants might have on the surrounding residential homes and apartments. The goal of the CRA was to establish a “restaurant district” but the City did not want New England Avenue to become a “bar and nightclub district”. To ensure that outcome, the City established earlier closing hours for New England Avenue and the rest of the Hannibal Square Neighborhood Commercial district. Those hours are closing at 11:00 pm on Sunday thru Thursday and 12:00 Midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. The rules in the Central Business District and everywhere else in the City are closing at 2:00 am except for 12:00 Midnight on Sundays. This earlier closing hours has been a source of frustration for restaurants on New England Avenue that have operated within the area that cannot host later evening dinners or special events and have customers that leave to go to Park Avenue, where the rules allow for later hours of operation.
In the 1980’s, a problem of live music existed along Park Avenue with bands playing late at night that were disturbing to the guests at the Park Plaza Hotel and nearby residential properties. The solution was to adopt noise controls for the Central Business District that create a violation after 10:00 pm if one can hear the sound of live music 50 feet away from an establishment. Those established conditions have adequately addressed the issues that once existed along Park Avenue.
The Ordinances establish consistency in two ways. One Ordinance establishes the same hours of alcoholic beverage sale and consumption that exist in the Central Business District to also apply on the New England Avenue portion of the Hannibal Square Neighborhood Commercial district, which is until 2:00 AM, and 12:00 AM on Sundays. The second Ordinance establishes the same cut-off hours of 10:00 pm for live music.
These regulations have worked well along Park Avenue to maintain the primary focus as a ‘restaurant district” and not as a “bar/nightclub district”. The same then will be the case on New England Avenue in the Hannibal Square Neighborhood Commercial district.
There was no “promise” that the hours of sale would be changed after one year. It was agreed that the hours could be revisited after one year after the “one year probation” but the reason the shorter hours have remained in place since 1995 was that no one wanted the live music at Dexter’s to be heard by residents until 2:00 am. Now that Dexter’s has closed and moved to Ravaudage, it opens up the opportunity for consistency of the hours city-wide, provided that there are adequate controls on noise.