Ohio law passed a measure last year that allows for extended hours of operation for liquor. But only in certain circumstances and only in certain places. And there is a question about which places.
The Holy Grail owner says he can usually tell if there is a large gathering downtown.
Jim Moehring says that depending on the group, congressmen often find their way to the banks to eat and drink after all of the events for the day are over.
“There are some of them who really keep their people busy and really keep them busy in the convention center and let things run until 8 or 9 p.m.,” says Möhring.
And these are the people Senator Tom Patton of Strongsville had in mind when he wrote the bill.
Currently, the last call in Ohio is at 2:30 in the morning. With a waiver, liquor license holders in a city of 350,000 or more residents could serve until 4:00 a.m. during a major qualifying event. This is defined as something that runs for one to ten days and is expected by 3,000 or more people.
In particular, Patton says he was thinking of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this year. The law would give delegates, protesters and the media a chance to get a nightcap when events come too late.
We wrote the bill so that certain size cities including Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland could stay open instead of 2:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
“We wrote the bill so that certain size cities, including Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, could stay open from 2:30 am to 4:00 pm.”
Matt Mullins of the Ohio Department of Commerce, which oversees alcohol laws, says the waiver application form doesn’t list Cincinnati.
“The information I have right now is about Columbus and Cleveland. I should look into the statute further to get more clarity about it,” says Mullins.
The confusion may be in a definition. The law says a “parish” which means within the city limits. The census estimates published in May listed 388,000 people in Cleveland. There were 850,000 in Columbus. And in the Cincinnati parish lines? 298,000, which is well below the 350,000 required.
But Senator Patton says the intent was to count people in the metropolitan area that covers more than just the city limits of Cincinnati, Columbus, or Cleveland. Because of this, facilities in addition to the Senator’s Patton House in Cuyahoga County may also request to stay open late.
“Even though we’ve hit the 350,000 mark, there are clearly not enough hotels and restaurants these people will stay in. There probably aren’t enough restaurants downtown to handle that crowd. I’m sure there aren’t there, “says Patton.
Jason Kershner is vice president of government affairs for the Cincinnati US regional chamber and says there are currently no plans to lobby to include Cincinnati.
“We believe laws like this can certainly add vibrancy to the region. And the Chamber would absolutely consider working with heads of state to change the legislation if there is a need to include the Greater Cincinnati region.”
And Jim Moehring on the Holy Grail? He is not sure.
Möhring says extra hours could be great for an event like a Super Bowl or a World Series. But the late night party crowd, who may have been drinking for a while, can still make it a hassle.
“The businessman in me says, ‘There are extra sales hours. It’s an extra two hours. Let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it!’ But there’s one big concern. If it’s just too sloppy, it doesn’t really make any sense. “
Senator Patton says he would like to change the law to include Cincinnati if the people of Queen City want to.