Late night drink spots in St. Pete now need permits

12/06/12 Janelle Irwin
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St. Pete officials are trying to clean up the city’s bar scene by requiring special permits for bars and restaurants serving alcohol past midnight. City council members approved a citywide ordinance this morning during their meeting.

Only a few bar owners showed up to complain about the issue, but most were more concerned about the possibility that council could later consider requiring high volume bars to hire off duty police officers for security. Matt Donahue owns Push Ultra Lounge in downtown St. Pete. He said his club already has adequate in-house security they call hosts.

"Forcing us to have additional security measures will certainly affect my business. I currently employ 25 individuals and this would put another burden on me to stay open. I've met many of you in the Leadership CP program last year and painting everybody with the same brush, the night clubs and bars with the same brush, I feel would certainly affect me in a negative way as well."

For now places like Push are safe from hiring officers for late night security. The decision to require special permits for serving alcohol after midnight came after St. Pete Police showed a video at a city council workshop last month depicting downtown St. Pete as a mecca for drunken shenanigans.

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