New Year’s a mixed bag

Restaurants get different results

Grand Cayman restaurateurs reported mixed business results on New Year’s Eve, as establishments licensed to sell alcohol had to vacate their premises before midnight to comply with the Music and Dancing Law.

Clemens Guettler of the Wharf Restaurant said his business was down more than 50 per cent of a New Year’s Eve that did not fall on a Saturday or Sunday.

‘We did 325 dinners as opposed to 700,’ he said.

Mr. Guettler said the Royal Cayman Islands Police came to the restaurant at 11:45 to make sure it was vacated.

‘It was a perfect night, but everyone left by 11:45.’

The Brasserie was also quieter than normal, said owner Lisa Flowers.

Those diners that did come to the Brasserie, left early to attend private parties, Mrs. Flowers said.

‘It’s not unusual though, for the majority of our guest to leave early on a New Year’s Eve, because we’re more of a dining place that a party place,’ she said. ‘But the numbers were definitely smaller.’

Luke McCoy of McCoy’s Restaurant said his first seating for dinner was very good, but the second seating – at 9 p.m. – not as well.

‘I’m sure if we would have been able to stay open later, we would have done better, but I can’t complain,’ he said. ‘We did pretty good.’

It was McCoy’s first New Year’s Eve since it opened, so Mr. McCoy could not compare this year with other New Year’s Even.

However, on a typical Saturday night, Mr. McCoy said the restaurant serves about 200 dinners, while it only served 160 on New Year’s Eve.

Mezza Restaurant only offered one seating, but was full for that seating, owner Guy Jackson said.

‘There weren’t many tourists; it was mostly local people,’ he said. ‘I attribute [being full] to the restaurant, not to it being New Year’s Eve.’

Mr. Jackson said most of the diners had left the restaurant by 11 pm to go off to private parties.

At Bacchus, owner Keith Griffin said New Year’s Eve was not the complete disaster he expected it to be, but it was still less than typically.

‘I was pleasantly disappointed,’ he said, noting that his restaurant served about 75 dinners on Saturday night.

Normally, Bacchus would serve 120-130 dinners on New Year’s Eve, Mr. Griffin said.

However, on a typical Saturday night, the restaurant only serves about 40-50 dinners.

‘We were better than a normal Saturday night for sure,’ he said.

Grand Old House, on the other hand, did extremely well on New Year’s Eve, manager Martin Richter said.

‘We have strong support from the local community,’ he said. ‘It was a very successful night.’

The Grand Old House had fireworks at 11 p.m. and the patrons left soon after they finished, Mr. Richter said.

‘The night was very compressed,’ he said. ‘We had to make sure everyone was out on time.’

This year will offer a similar challenge to restaurateurs. In 2006, New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday night. Licensed establishments will not able to open until 12.01am Monday to facilitate New Year’s Eve Celebrations.