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Downtown bar owners worried about liquor license changes


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Council is considering changes to ABC licensing to help make downtown a safer place. Bar owners are worried the recommendations could hurt both existing, and future business.

Dustin Cook owns Pravda, a bar on Front Street in downtown Wilmington. He applied for a new license, but was denied because Wilmington police are trying to limit the number of ABC permits. Now Cook is worried about the future of his business.

"Bar owners of downtown are willing to work with the City Council and with the police, to come up with ideas on how to solve these problems" said Cook. "But unfortunately, were not being asked for our input right now."

According to its recommendation WPD also wants to limit the number of floors bars can occupy,create a special tax district to increase lighting and the number of officers, deny all people under 21 years old and require plastic or paper cups.

City Council will vote on these changes Tuesday.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Long term pet project of the puppets

It's a simple game. Throw out old business and force the owners to sell, then buy it up dirt cheap and turn it into a yuppie theme park like Mayfaire.

You, the Wilmington citizen, profit nothing in this exchange.

Wilmington has always been run by crooks and the only difference is the crooks are targeting a rather vocal demographic of the Wilmington population: the ones who like to go downtown for a beer or a nice drink and listen to some music.

Unless you all intend to put up a viable resistance, these crooks are going to run over you.

I dont think any of this has

I dont think any of this has to do with "protecting" the youth, and limiting the number of ABC permits. It is plain and simple in my mind.

What good is going to come out of using plastic cups after 11pm beside more nonbiodegradable garbage.

And similarly, about not letting 18ers in the clubs. All that is gonna do is lead to MORE people walking on the streets around the clubs.

They want to close down Rise, Rhino, A&G game room, the Rox. For what? Because they have had a few drinking tickets, and problems? No, its because those clubs are one of the few clubs that allow blacks in. Attempting to close them down is just another form of racism, and prejudice.

THe overall gist of this whole situation is that the City Council, and mainly the police HATE having to worry about downtown bars.

I don't know what the solution is, but what they proposed will have deep and painful consequences for the city and its budget.

re:Really? Like the families

The wingfling, chili cookoff etc. and even the beerfest have gone to the toilet. The first few years it was a good mellow time for the family, After about the 3rd yr we stopped going because it turned into more of a drunkfest with no one monitoring the crowd that was doing beer bongs, throwing beer, and acting like idiots.

Downtown, you can have that fecal hole. A lot of the problem also stems from the 16-20 y/o olds that are walking the streets with no purpose at 12-2am. Only a couple good bars downtown anyways. Lulas, firebelly and bluepost.

Open your eyes!

Why does no one comment on the REAL issue here! By the city (on advice from the police) Refusing to approve any new ABC Permits, every single bar and restaurant owner's downtown business has ZERO value if they wanted to sell it! And how does this affect the landlords of the buildings who rent space to bars and restaurants? NO ONE will purchase a bar, move into a space, if they can't sell alcohol! And what about the ABC Permits for restaurants? Are we not allowed to have wine with dinner in any new restaurants downtown? This is NOT well thought out! Nice way to behave during these tough economic times! Downtown has enough for Rent signs!

WOW! How stupid. Downtown

WOW! How stupid. Downtown Wilmington thrives off of the nightlife, its one of the only economic incomes actually steady in the city. I would rather see drunks than boarded up bars any day, and so would Wilmington's wallet. Pass this and watch the city crumble...


Bars arent the problem, nightclubs are. bars TYPICALLY are harder for college kids to get into. Besides us older folk have gotten sick of dance club music.

Maybe give incentives for the ROX, Rhino Club and other "dance" clubs to move closer to campus. Less drunk college students driving accross town and its closer to their target crowd anyway.

Suggest them to use empty spaces like the old Rock-ola or the old Wilson's. Heck there used to be a club behind McAlister's!!


I'm sick of the news referencing that "Wilmington City Council is considering...." That does us no good for people that try to stay involved. It would be better to know who suggested the idea and how the INDIVIDUAL COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE VOTING (For or against) !!


A nicely chilled martini served... in a Dixie Cup? ONLY IN WILMINGTON!

If the city lays off police

If the city lays off police officers, the bar owners will have to wear badges I recon...I recon!

Once Again...

Once again the city blames others for it's lack of what every other city in the country(of course I am embellishing a little) does. Provide adequate policing, city clean-up crews, proper maintenance. It is the responsibility of the city to maintain itself, that includes each and every business owner. I for one am tired of every problem downtown being blamed on the bars. This is ridiculous and I am sick of it. The political agenda in this town is skewed, and only the idiots in office can't see it. Let them continue to put their little circle of idiots to work performing inferior projects(i.e. convention center, downtown street project) with never met quotas or deadlines. Then blame problems on the biggest money makers downtown. What a bunch of fools!!!

This is all very silly, but

This is all very silly, but are they serious about requiring only paper or plastic cups? What could possibly be the benefit? Keeping people from throwing glasses at each other?
Nanny State.
Anyone ever tried to have a nice Guinness from a paper cup?

Not sure this is the answer, but....

...I don't see anyone else driving the train here. The barfronts look like total crap, dirty windows, soured curtains, delapidated appearance. They look really trashy in the daytime, night is even worse. It's getting of riminiscent of the old "Hay Street" days of Fayetteville, including the stench of puke, urine and used beer on the sidewalks.

Sorry bar owners, this is in YOUR control and YOUR responsibility. If you can't handle it, someone else will and it appears it's on it's way!

Downtown Wilmington has a horrible reputation for noise, drunks, fighting, crime, drunks, fighting, drunks...and...drunks. The adults, property owners, locals, vistors and tourists are getting tired of seeing and experiencing it.

This is the city's responsibility, they need to act like it

Amen. NO other country in the world would make the city clean up after the bar owners (in fact, most of them just don't clean it up). Is that what we want here though?

There are hundreds of people (if not thousands) on the street after closing time and many calls for service that have to do with broken beer bottles. These incidents are in the hundreds too. They are NOT just every couple months. It works out to either 1 a night or 7-8/weekend. If it is a holiday that number skyrockets.

It is the responsibility of the bar owners to keep things in the bar and not out on the street. Serving alcohol to people who are already drunk is a dumb idea anyway. You are just stealing from them at that point. The property owners are only hurting themselves by not keeping their establishments reputable. They will get what they deserve for not being vigilant.

The bottom line, when you mix all those people downtow in all the various bars and then serve them drinks past the point of no return, you are looking for trouble.

Why blame the police for something the city is allowing?

Downtown Wilmington in the

Downtown Wilmington in the past 30 years have done a complete 180. Remember that it wasnt even that long ago that the POLICE would even go near the Cotton exchange because it was such a high crime area.

In my experience Downtown has never looked better. Yeah, there are people causing a ruckus, but would you rather have all the smack addicts and prostitutes that used to be there.

If you think downtown Wilmington has a bad reputation, then you obviously need to get out into the world a little bit more.

This measure is just a ploy by the police department to secure more funding, and make there job easier.

Really? Like the families

Really? Like the families and tourists who were met with drunken pandemonium and lewdness at the Battleship during the recent Wing Fling? Where was the policing of THAT fiasco? The problem is not the bars, it is the underage and barely aged drinkers!


Good. Fewer drunks on front street is welcome. It would be nice to go out and dine on Sat. night with out the loud drunks and people fighting and puking everywhere. If you want to drink go home and do it. This would mean less drunks on the road as well. Next task is to clean up the drugs.

First off, you are

First off, you are generalizing way to much. Front street has been cleaned up expontentially since the 1970's.

Secondly, I work downtown every night, and its isnt anything like what you say,

"the loud drunks and people fighting and puking everywhere."

This is hardly the case. To be clear. Most of the problems stem from military men that have been let off the leash after a tough deployment.

We are very much reliant on these young men and women, and Yes they have their issues, but wouldnt you also if you just came back from war.

It is people like you that give downtown ILM a bad name because you go an make sweeping generalization about the what happens out there.

PS No one is fighting, and puking, and doing drugs, when your out to dinner on Saturday night. The real problems, if there is one, starts after 2am when all the police sit in front of the Rhino, and ignore everywhere else.

At what time did you go out

At what time did you go out for nice dinner? Downtown is just fine for an excellent evening meal. Now after say..12:30 it is a different story, but knowing this I still go downtown for a good time.
You have to put your downtown visits in a time perspective.
7 a.m til 9 or 10 p.m.... no worries. Enjoy.

10 p.m. til 3 a.m.... Party on! If you do not wish to see these things don't come downtown at these times.
It's that simple you tea-totters.

Ridiculous City Council

THE CITY COUNCIL IS AGAIN TRYING TO BLAME OTHERS FOR THEIR INCOMPETENCE IN MANAGING A CITY. It is a nice diversion from their failed Hotel/Convention center,annexation, forgiving 250,000 on a property sale and an overwhelming deficit. Let us not forget about the drug issues in Wilmington.
The councilman said it on camera, regardless of feedback we seven will make the decisions.(paraphrase)That stands to be the only truth to the matter.


My husband and no longer frequent any clubs downtown Wilmington. We have in the past and found it to be an uptight area. After 1 am the police show up with a mobile unit, cops show up on foot ,in cruisers and horseback as if a riot is about to break out.
Nightlife in Wilmington is a joke.Have any of you been to Charleston ,Savannah, or Asheville? All these cities have a vibrant nightlife, downtown! You do not see the police force at closing time harassing the customers . Wilmington is a small town trying to act like a big city, but is far to backward to be able to move out of the 50's! Remember all this at the voting booths.

By all means...LEAVE.

If you actually did stay downtown long enough to see WPD officers showing up in advance of bar closings, then you no doubt saw that every last one of them was absolutely essential. Our officers do NOT harass. They DO, however, make certain that those who want to stand around and fight and cause problems are held accountable. How do I know? I've been down there and witnessed it. In addition, my job allows me to work directly with the men and women of WPD, so I've seen first-hand from their side of the fence as well. I guarantee you that if no WPD officers were downtown, as you seem to stupidly suggest, there would indeed be riots breaking out. The fact is that there are too many people who lose all functioning brain cells when they drink, and downtown Wilmington at bar close has too many of these brain-dead idiots roaming around.

The police are there for a reason, you fool.

However, since you are so displeased with how Wilmington is, by all means - PLEASE - leave and go to one of the utopias you mentioned. Do your part to clean up our city by leaving.


Not once did the previous writer say that she wants to forgo all police presence downtown, but you made a point to comment on how she did. All she said is that there is a lot of police downtown, and it is a fact however that the police DO NOT spread there prescence evenly. If they want to have more effect they have to focus on spreading the out a little bit. Part of the reason we have so many problems is because the police all group together, and allow other places downtown to have NO POLICE PRESENCE. ie West and East of the RHino Club.

It is unfortunate that they have so many problem, but personally and relativly speaking we are much safer then most other similar sized cities.

Please do what you can to be respectful of other people expressing there opinions.

This cannot be serious.

This cannot be serious.

This is serious

I just want to point out that the permit I am trying to get is for an existing bar downtown, it is not a "new" or "additional" bar. The bar owners agree that there needs to be a cap on the amount of ABC permits downtown. We have been trying to get City Council to put a limit on permits for years. Most of the bar owners also agree that there should be a law keeping under 21 people from being in bars. It is ridiculous to allow under 21 year old kids into bars, that is half of the problem downtown. We want to work with the City but no one has asked for our help even when we offer it. As it is right now I cannot sell my business if I had a buyer due to the current "blackout" on permits. People seem to think that a ABC permit comes with a bar, that is not the case the ABC permit follows the owner. A new owner has to apply for a new permit. So as you see who would want to buy a bar if they can't operate it? Not a good solution. Actually what they are doing right now is unconstitutional, the government cannot seize a citizens property value with out compensation. They are violating constitutional rights and that is serious.

this is serious

just close up ALL the bars and start over..make a list of ones where the most problems are and don't let them re-opoen. then everyone re-applies for permits.. if you dont get one.. sorry.. sell hot dogs

I agree with most of your

I agree with most of your post but.. I think they should not put any limit on the bars/pubs. Not to pull "this is america card" but anyone should be able to open a bar in wilmington as long as it is within the "current" city ordinances. If there were a hold licenses downtown the transfer, more so the selling of of these licenses would become extremely dangerous. I could possible see licenses be transfered/sold for as much as $200k. Nice profit for the ones who have their licenses.
Now I do know where most of the trouble is coming from downtown. I can't remember the name of the place but it is at 2nd and Market St. I avoid this area like it was some sort of outer space anomilie that is sort of vortex shaped that could send you to a different dimension.

Rhino Club

I would be willing to bet you are talking about The Rhino Club. Do a search here on WWAY for Rhino Club and see all the stories about fights and problems there. Seems like that is a thug hangout.

WOW! You were right guesty.

WOW! You were right guesty. I typed Rhino in wway's search engine and it was ablsolutely unbelieveable. It seems like at least once a month something goes on there and these are probably the only ones reported. Thugs for sure.