Brookhaven aims to get a piece of the Super Bowl dining and nightlife business by extending its alcohol-selling hours for the week leading up to the game. But the move came with a dissenting vote from a city councilmember concerned about public safety.
The National Football League championship game will be held Feb. 3 in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In a 3-1 vote on Jan. 22, the City Council approved extending alcohol service from the usual 2 a.m. cutoff time on a schedule based around the game.
Businesses licensed to sell alcohol on Sundays can do so starting at 11 a.m. on Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 and ending at 4 a.m. the following day. Bars, restaurants and similar businesses that sell alcoholic drinks for on-site consumption also can serve 11 a.m. through 4 a.m. the following day on Jan. 28 through Feb. 1, and 11 a.m. through 2:55 a.m. the following day on Feb. 2.
City Councilmember Joe Gebbia thanked the bar and restaurant industry for advocating the extension of alcohol sales hours, saying it will allow a variety of local businesses to seize the “windfall opportunity” of the Super Bowl.
The city of Atlanta has authorized a similar extension of alcohol-serving hours for the Super Bowl.
After comments from the attorney for the Pink Pony strip club on Buford Highway, the Brookhaven council also approved allowing businesses that are in an active challenge to a city license or fee issue to take advantage of the extended hours. City Attorney Chris Balch said that currently applies to three businesses in the city.
Councilmember Linley Jones cast the sole vote against the extended hours. She said she did so because “earlier this evening, when I asked our police chief if he thought it was a good idea…his answer was no, which was in the interest of public safety and of our officers’ safety.” Because most other nearby cities are not extending hours, she said, “we’re actively drawing those last-night drinkers, late-night partiers, drunk drivers.”
Brookhaven is also taking advantage of the Super Bowl to brand itself by buying a large ad in a special game-related issue of Atlanta Magazine, officials said. Resident Ronnie Mayer complained in a public comment period that the money should have been spent on public safety or other local services. Gebbia and City Manager Christian Sigman said the ad was paid for from general funds already earmarked for promotions.