New Jersey is known for its strict laws at the state level regarding alcohol sales, but individual municipalities also have the ability to exercise plenty of control when it comes to regulating how drinks can be sold. Newark is no exception, with ordinances on the books regarding when alcoholic beverages can be purchased within city limits and the types of restaurants that can have them on the menu.
For instance, while on every other day of the week alcoholic beverages can be sold beginning at 9:00 a.m., it has long been the law of the land in Newark that on Sundays businesses with a plenary retail consumption or club license cannot “sell, serve, deliver, or allow” alcoholic beverages on the premises until noon. However, in the city’s central business district, the rules are about to change.
City records show that Mayor Ras Baraka has signed an ordinance that was approved by the Newark Municipal Council on September 19. The legislation, which is reportedly based on the desires of the Newark Police Division’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC), calls for allowing alcohol sales to begin at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays in order to “encourage brunch activity.”
In addition, the ordinance will allow dance floors that are larger than 240 square feet and lift a regulation requiring restaurants acquiring liquor licenses to earn at least 51 percent of their revenue through food and/or non-alcoholic drinks. It also eliminates a rule that set a maximum number of seats at a restaurant’s bar in relation to the number of seats in the dining room and allows for the ABC to grant exceptions upon request to a rule banning the transfer of liquor licenses to premises within 1,000 feet of a business that also has a liquor license.
The ordinance claims that these changes “are necessary to achieve the vision of cultivating the entertainment culture in the downtown area.” The amended regulations apply only to the Downtown Family Restaurant and Entertainment District.