City Council Bumps Up Brunch Bill Discussion

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jul 10, 2017
The Basics is one of many restaurants in downtown Wilmington that would be affected should city council approve an ordinance allowing alcohol sales at 10 a.m. Sundays. File photo.
Citing increased interest from elected officials, city of Wilmington spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said City Council has bumped up talks of the newly passed “Brunch Bill” to the next council meeting.

A public hearing and a discussion of a draft ordinance allowing alcohol sales at 10 a.m. Sundays have been marked for Wilmington City Council’s July 18 agenda. When asked about a proposed ordinance change last week, Talbert said previously that it was likely the City Council would not see any action on the matter in July.

Regarding the change to the city's timeline on Monday, Talbert said more council members had “indicated interest, but not just interest … they wanted to talk about it immediately.”

Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 155 into law June 30, enabling municipalities across the state to adopt ordinances allowing the sale of malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine and mixed beverages at 10 a.m., two hours earlier than allowed previously.

Talbert said an ordinance change would need approval from the City Council.

“As proposed, the change would be effective immediately if approved by Council, but could also be changed to another date if directed by Council,” Talbert said in a news release Monday.

The draft ordinance will be made available when the city releases its agenda later this week, Talbert said. Although not required, the city is also going to include a public hearing on the issue to get resident input.

"I’m glad to hear they are moving it up quickly, and I know our customers will be happy,” said Mary Long, owner of The Basics, a restaurant at 319 N. Front St. in downtown Wilmington. "It’s a win-win situation for everybody."

The Basics is just one of several downtown establishments with Sunday brunch menus that could be permitted to serve mimosas, Bloody Marys and other cocktails earlier if the council decides to approve the new ordinance.

“We have to turn down people all the time,” Long said about the demand for early alcohol sales on Sundays. “So we’re pretty excited about it."

The city is following suit with several other municipalities in the region. Surf City passed an ordinance allowing 10 a.m. alcohol sales on Sundays last Wednesday, just days after the town of Carrboro and one day after the city of Raleigh.
The town of Carolina Beach will discuss the item at its July 25 workshop. And tonight, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen is scheduled to discuss changing the town ordinance during its meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m.
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