Proposal to make all bars 21-and-older called “misguided” by Lower Garden District neighborhood

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Though often cautious when it comes to approving new alcohol-selling businesses within its boundaries, the Coliseum Square Association voted overwhelmingly Monday night to oppose the idea of banning 18-to-20-year-olds from existing bars.

Patrons of establishments that primarily sell alcohol must be at least 18 to enter, under state law, and 21 to drink. Under a proposal pending that could come before the City Council as early as Thursday, anyone who wished to enter a bar in New Orleans must be 21, in an effort to curb underage drinking and reduce crime around bars.

In a brief but pointed discussion, that idea was decried as “misguided” Monday evening by the leadership of the Coliseum Square Association.

“I don’t think keeping 18-to-20-year-olds out of bars is going to reduce crime,” said association president Robert Wolf afterward. “What it’s going to hurt is a lot of bands, and places that sell cheese fries.”

Other said that the measure would make underage drinkers do so more furtively, where they are more likely to cause harm to themselves or others. After about 10 minutes — with no one saying anything in favor of the proposed law — the association voted 9-1 to send Councilwoman Stacy Head a letter saying they thought the new restriction would be a poor idea.

The decision drew praise from David Melius, a neighborhood resident who owns Bruno’s Tavern in the Riverbend.

“It’s about time for neighborhood associations to speak for some of the businesses,” Melius said.

The board also heard a proposal from an alcohol-selling establishment within its boundaries, Mayas restaurant on Magazine Street. The restaurant hopes to begin hosting live music and salsa dancing and serving tapas — as well as allowing its customers to leave the restaurant with go cups — but needs the city’s approval for the changes.

Association members offered muted responses to the idea, with little strong opinion by way of support or opposition. Some worried that the change would represent a transition from a restaurant to a nightclub, but others said that Mayas has been such a good neighbor that they deserved the opportunity.

No immediate decision was required, so the board deferred a decision until next month to study the issue.

To read our live coverage of the night’s meeting, click in the box below.

4 thoughts on “Proposal to make all bars 21-and-older called “misguided” by Lower Garden District neighborhood

  1. I can’t believe the neighborhood assoc. has finally went in a bars favor. Please get a blanket because hell is going to freeze over.

  2. The Coliseum Square Association is the most random association ever. They sit around and do nothing, generally obstruct everything, and then weigh in on issues that aren’t even remotely connected to their mission.

    There are no under 21 bars in that neighborhood.

  3. When Jay Batt gave David Melius the permit for his new bar on Maple, Melius promised to convert the old bar to a restaurant. Here’s what Melius told the City: “Within 6 months of commencing business operations at Bruno’s Tavern at 7528-38 Maple Street, . . . the owners of BCI agree to operate the current Bruno’s Bar at 7601 Maple Street AS A RESTAURANT rather than a cocktail lounge bar . . . .” The conversion of the old bar to a restaurant never happened. It was and still is a bar, and was recently sanctioned by the ABO board. Any neighborhood organization that listens these bar owners better beware. These promises are unenforceable, especially once the operation changes hands, and the City will do little to stop a bar (or restaurant) gone rogue. Robert Wolfe and his group are either suckers or in bed with the bar owners.

  4. All residents of the LGD are invited to join the Coliseum Square Association at The association welcomed my family when we moved here 18 months ago. We are involved with the CSA that supports National Night Out ( barbecue night at Sophie Wright Place), 6th District Mardi Gras Breakfast, Christmas Party with the 6th District, Fountain maintenance, park clean-up & improvements, Home Tours and more. Join a committee to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood.

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