According to a memo that we received this afternoon, Mayor Riley has asked City Council members to nominate someone to appear on an as-yet-be-formed late-night entertainment committee, the very committee that the city will help the mayor and his administration decide what steps to take after the city's proposed late-night restaurant and bar moratorium goes into affect. The mayor says that the committee "should be reasonably sized" and should include "select representatives from the neighborhoods [adjacent to the late-night entertainment districts], hospitality industry, and others. Riley's goal: to make sure the city gets "a wide range of ideas and opinions."
At least one council member, Dean Riegel, believes that the memo may indicate that the F&B community's role in the late-night entertainment debate will be minimized by the city. In order to prevent that from happening, Riegel urges members of the food and bev to contact their respective council members and lobby them "to make a friendly appointment."
Riegel says that he has asked Bill Hall Sr. of Halls Chophouse to be his appointee and Hall has accepted the offer. "I couldn't think of anybody better," says Riegel, adding that he has contacted the mayor about his appointee. "To have someone with Bill Hall's stature sets the tone for the committee."
"I think food and beverage are losing the battle. Sometimes you can't join City Hall. You have to beat City Hall. I want the best man I know to help steer things," Riegel adds.
The councilman also says that he couldn't get any traction on his previous proposal
to address the issues raised by the proliferation of night life on Upper King. Riegel had proposed to allow bars to stay open beyond the 2 a.m. closing time, a move that would allow patrons to sober up after last call and lessen the mass exodus that occurs on Upper King every Friday and Saturday. He also suggested city garages offer discounted parking at night in order to entice bar patrons to park in garages and not on neighborhood streets.
Right now, Riegel thinks the chances of stopping the moratorium is nearly impossible. "We gotten to the point where this is almost ordained," he says.