Wednesday, April 04, 2001

Covington OKs early Sunday beer

Brew sales at 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m.

By E.K. Meister
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — Reds fans gearing up for Sunday games at brunch will find the beer flowing earlier in Covington this season.

        In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Covington City Commission approved selling brew at 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m. — not only in restaurants, but also in carry-out liquor stores.

    • Effective: As early as Easter, April 15.
    • Where: All businesses in Covington, including restaurants, stores and carry-outs.
    • What: Poured beers or packaged/bottled beers.
    • When: 11 a.m.
        Restaurants will be allowed to serve beer until 1 p.m., when they may begin also serving wine and liquor. Liquor stores also will be allowed to sell beer beginning at 11 a.m.

        The measure will span the entire city instead of just riverfront establishments as originally intended. The move is in response to restaurants' complaints that they're losing business to Cincinnati establishments that can legally serve beer as early as 5:30 a.m.

        Willie's Sports Cafe in Kenwood serves beer at 11 a.m., according to manager Tiffany Stenger. Ms. Stenger said seating capacity for the Ohio restaurant is 281; and on a typical Sunday when there's an interesting game on TV it will reach that capacity, with about half the patrons purchasing alcohol.

        But Willie's Sports Cafe in Covington doesn't do such Sunday business. Lee Kinzer, manager of the 401 Crescent Ave. restaurant, said his restaurant will seat only 125 of its 600 capacity.

        Some city commissioners thought the change should have been limited to riverfront restaurants, but because one group's status couldn't legally be changed without changing everyone's in the city, they relented and agreed for the revision.

        The Rev. Michael Smith, assistant pastor at South Side Baptist Church, 1501 Holman Ave., said he thinks earlier drinking will cause more problems at the games.

        “Games get heated when people have had too much to drink,” he said.

        He and a number of his parishioners presented petitions to the city commissioners last month.

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