Social Circle approves mixed drink ordinance

SOCIAL CIRCLE - The City Council approved a liquor-by-the-drink ordinance Tuesday night, making it possible for city restaurants to begin serving mixed drinks as soon as they meet the requirements set forth in the ordinance.

City Attorney Joe Reitman, who crafted the ordinance based on codes already in effect in Madison and Conyers, described the ordinance as "prudent" and "conservative."

Under the new ordinance, restaurants that serve mixed drinks will be required to prove that at least 60 percent of their revenue is derived from food sales. Reitman said the food sales requirement ensures that Social Circle will attract "no nightclubs, no bars and no juke joints."

In addition, restaurant owners/operators must undergo a background check, pay a $2,500 license fee, and post a $2,500 performance bond. Servers will also be required to have a license, which will cost $20, and take an alcohol training class. Reitman said the alcohol classes emphasize the responsibility involved in serving alcohol and the importance of not serving to minors.

License-holders will be required to reapply in December of each year.

Sunday sales are not allowed under the ordinance. Serving hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Establishments that sell alcohol must be located at least 100 yards from a church or school.

The ordinance was approved 2-1, with Councilwomen Anne Peppers and Traysa Cody-Price in favor and Angela Porter opposed. The ordinance became effective upon passage by the council.

Mayor Jim Burgess said earlier that mixed drink sales are viewed as a key to drawing restaurants and other economic development to the town.

City residents approved liquor-by-the-drink sales in a March 17 referendum that passed 180-104.