Calico Jacks conditions relaxed

Beach bar and restaurant Calico Jacks has seen some of the conditions attached to the granting of a Retail liquor licence to it relaxed following a special meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board Thursday.

The Board has now approved operating hours of 9am to midnight, Monday to Saturday for the sale of liquor and/or the playing of music.

The licence was originally granted to owner Handel Whittaker in June by the Liquor Licensing Board, subject to conditions. The list of conditions included operating hours being from 9am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. On Sundays it can sell liquor from 11am to 6pm providing there are cruise ships in port.

At the special meeting on Thursday at Customs Headquarters, Mr. Whittaker made his case for the removal of the conditions at the bar and restaurant, which is located beside the Public Beach.

He said since the hurricane there are a lot of displaced people who need food to eat, and Calico Jack’s food sales have escalated.

He said it was cumbersome when patrons arrived at 9pm or 9.30pm for food and they could not be served because closing time was 10pm. He had lost some patrons, including tourists, because of this, he said.

‘In the past six months Calico Jacks has become an extremely popular place,’ said Mr. Whittaker.

He added that the premises has the only restroom facilities on the beach and many people utilise them. He also said security is in place at the premises.

Mr. Whittaker asked that the premises be allowed serve until midnight, as he had no wish for it to be a late night spot.

Board member Mr. Noel Williams asked whether there were plans for bands to play there at night.

Mr. Whittaker answered that entertainment is high on the list of priorities for Calico Jacks. He also said they are expanding their kitchen and hope to include barbeques in the entertainment package. The present situation does not allow the bar to host local bands, he explained.

‘It’s hard to hire a band to play at 8.30 just for an hour and a half,’ he said.

Mr. Whittaker also asked that on Sundays, when cruise ships are in port, that the bar and restaurant remain open until 8pm, or preferably 10pm.

Mr. Whittaker said that Calico Jacks is one of the few establishments on West Bay Road, so near to West Bay.

‘I ask you guys to really look on our side. We have a lot of locals, ex-pats and tourists alike as customers,’ he said.

Board member Ruth Williams asked Mr. Whittaker if the menu had been extended from when it first opened.

‘Yes, it’s been extended. People can come and sit down and have a great meal,’ he replied.

The board went into closed deliberations to make their decision.

When the retail liquor licence was originally sought for Calico Jacks four objectors, representing various parts of the community and with over 200 names collected in petitions, made their case against the granting of the licence. Their main concern was the availability of alcohol in an area frequented by youth and families.