New Alcohol Law Brings Changes for Local Restaurants

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) The Bowling Green City Commission approved changes to the city's liquor laws that include the packaged liquor sales on Sundays.
Local restaurants think they'll feel the effects of the ordinance, too.

One WKU student from Illinois was surprised at how slow Hilligans, a popular sports bar near campus, is on a Sunday around noon during football season.

"The bars back home are always a lot busier, and the bars here.. when I started working here, I was a little confused about why they weren't as busy and packed, and I actually didn't know until the first Sunday I worked that we couldn't sell alcohol," said Hilligans Server Macy Manning.

"We pretty much take preorders from noon until one, and as soon as one o'clock hits, we're legally allowed to start serving those beers. If we were allowed to serve beforehand, sales would obviously increase, we'd probably get alot more crowd in here because you're actually missing about half of the game if you're not wanting to go out until alcohol is served," said Lost River Pizza Bar Manager Cody Anderson.

One customer says he doesn't even come to the restaurant until he knows they can sell.

"The law's been that for along time, so I just wait until one o'clock," said Lost River Pizza customer Jonathon Belcher.

Manning thinks it keeps some potential customers at home altogether.

"It keeps people inside their houses because they can buy their own alcohol the night before and drink it when their game starts," said Manning.

Anderson and manning say that's revenue lost.

"A bar that seats 15 people in a restaurant that seats about 130 if everybody wanted a beer between noon and one, if I could serve one to everybody, you're looking at almost a thousand dollars in sales right there," said Anderson.

"And what people do with the revenue from that is up to them. They can use that... throw it back into the community... charities... whatever," said Belcher.

Anderson says he knows his restaurant and liquor stores lose money to nearby Franklin, something he hopes will change.

The previous ordinance required restaurants to have at least 100 seats, and have 50 percent of their sales from food to be able to sell after 1p.m. on Sunday. Now all restaurants will be able to also sell beginning at 10a.m.

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