Nightclubs want later drinking hours

Four popular
nightclubs on Grand Cayman are seeking extended hours after some local restaurants and
bars began closing later.

The proposed extension seeks to allow nightclub patrons to drink until 4am Saturdays. The current cut off time at the bar is 1.50am on Saturdays.

The requests were made at the quarterly Liquor Licensing Board meeting on Thursday. 

Jet
Nightclub, O Bar, LI Lounge (formerly the Matrix Nightclub), and
Elements Nightclub all filed variation requests to move the current closing
times of 3am on Friday nights/Saturday mornings to 4am.

Currently,
many bars on the Island have closing hours of 2am on Fridays, and there
is no incentive for patrons to move on to a nightclub after they visit a bar,
according a the representative for two of the clubs.

“Everybody
is choosing to remain in the bars until the extended closing time of 2am,” said
James Kennedy, attorney for Joseph DeFilippo, the owner of Jet and O Bar. “The nightclub business on this island is slowly seeping
away.”

The board
cannot base its decisions on financial reasons when determining whether or not
to grant licence variations, according to Mitchell Welds, chairman of the Liquor
Licensing Board.

“The board
cannot take economic reasons into consideration,” Mr. Welds
said.

Richard
Barton, attorney representing Cary English of LI Lounge, agreed with Mr.
Kennedy, arguing that the 2am close time of bars should allow the nightclubs
longer serving hours.

“There is an
apparent disproportional benefit of not relying on the economical distinction
between the nightclubs and the bars,” he said. “That benefit… should be
levelled… so that the nightclubs are in a more advantageous position to
compete fairly.”

Earlier,
Calicia Burke represented L. Christine Burke-Richardson, her mother and owner of
Temperature Lounge and Restaurant in George Town. She sought permission from the
board to operate on Thursdays until 2am Friday mornings.

“We found
that for Thursdays specifically is that our customers arrive later,” she said.
“They don’t come out until about five minutes to 12, or 12
o’clock.”

Ms. Burke
also filed an application for a change of licence category from restaurant to
package.

“The main
thing is to accommodate our cruise ship visitors,” she
said.

Other
licence requests

Four
different applications were submitted for new licences, although only three
representatives showed up.

“It is a
requirement that applicants for new applications be present,” Mr. Welds said.
“However, in regards to variations, it’s not a requirement that applicants be
present.”

Luis Forbes
of Bodden Town Beach Club and Philip Eckstein of Driftwood Village,
respectively, applied for a hotel liquor licence and a music and dancing
licence, while Ian Barnes of 345 Xtreme.com applied for a music and dancing
licence to support his recently started promotional
business.

Mr. Barnes
requested permission for the licence to be mobile, so he could play music at
various events that his new company would be promoting.

Eduardo
Coulson of Enigma Cocktail Lounge and Karaoke Bar, which is currently closed,
sought a variation on his current licence. He is looking for a new location for
his venture.

Ernest
Parchment of Macumba Lounge applied for a variation on his existing licence. He
explained the his wish to reopen a Cotton Club-type atmosphere that would appeal
to a “mature audience.”

The
representative of Puro Rey Cigars and Lounge at the airport, Maikel Ebanks,
sought a variation of his current licence to allow him to move to a Seven Mile
Beach location to attract more customers.

“We
basically specialize in Cuban cigars and Cuban liquors,” he said. “I believe it
would be an excellent choice for the people of West Bay Road, especially
tourists.”

The Liquor
Licensing Board of Grand Cayman will make their decisions regarding all the
matters of the agenda in the next few days – please look for the article in the
Caymanian Compass in the days ahead.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. When is enough late night night life enough for this island? My concern is more late night drinking time cannot help the country or those to travel on the roads at night.

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