If it looks like a duck…

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The code of ordinances for Tuscaloosa, Alabama §3-23(c) stipulates that:

Any person seeking a restaurant liquor license shall submit with its application the plans of its restaurant which shall include the following:

(1) The kitchen shall have a food preparation area and storage equipment necessary to prepare the items listed on the menu.

(2) The number of persons that may be served at one sitting must be listed and there should be space in said area for at least 15 square feet per person.

(3) A proposed menu shall be submitted. The following items will not be considered a meal if they are the only ones served by the establishment seeking a restaurant liquor license: Oysters, shrimp, crab claws, chips, pickles, meats and eggs, peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, sandwiches or any other food that the revenue officer considers not to fall within the definition of a meal as set out in Code of Ala. 1975, § 28-3-1(23).

Jason Morton reported in the Tuscaloosa News:

Tuscaloosa city officials unanimously approved a series of legal definitions that will formally define restaurants, bars and businesses that fluctuate between both.

The definitions also place restrictions on certain uses, such as bars or taverns, event spaces (such as banquet halls) and live entertainment venues.

Another part of the discussion is the addition of buffers around Queen City Avenue and the city’s historic districts to prevent night-oriented businesses from disturbing those who live in these areas.

These buffers have drawn strong opinions from those who stand to be affected.

Developer Phillip Weaver, who has renovated and upgraded a number of downtown structures, was not present for Tuesday’s vote, but this summer he questioned how far the city was willing to go to limit the use of certain buildings.

Weaver now owns the former AlaGasCo building located less than a block from Queen City Avenue on University Boulevard, which could stand to be affected by the new buffer rules.

He has said there was no plan to put a bar or business that stayed open until the early morning hours in there, but he may want a restaurant that converts to a bar and offers live music at about 10 p.m.

It might seem obvious to many people that any establishment that derives most of its revenue from alcohol sales should be considered to be a bar. A bar could also serve food if it so desires.

It would appear to some observers that some of the owners of businesses that serve alcohol want their establishments to be classified as restaurants in order to allow patrons to enter the premises who are too young to be served alcohol.

Would it be unreasonable to require that a restaurant be defined in terms of its being able to earn most of its revenue from food sales?

Maybe the “Duck Test” should be applied to establishments that sell booze?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

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2 thoughts on “If it looks like a duck…

  1. Julie Evelsizer says:

    The City of Tuscaloosa has to keep in mind that the area contains not only students, but old Tuscaloosa families who inhabit places like Druid Court, Pinehurst and Audubon Place. Their objection to loud music into the night carries a lot more weight than mine did when I lived in the (Morrison) Apartments and had to get up and go to work in the morning.

    I live behind Archibald and Woodrow’s on McFarland East, which is a nightclub operating on a restaurant license. Tuscaloosa has been so stubborn about allowing this to go on, that I know they will never decide to define a bar by the ratio of alcohol sales. And not letting underage students into a bar would NOT help to continue the skyrocketing student population, in which Tuscaloosa has invested itself completely.

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