By IN reporter Sean Boone
Last month, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco wrote up 17 downtown businesses during Gallery Night for not abiding by permit laws they possess with the state.
The confusion came when the Northwest Florida Arts Council was able to obtain a special events permit for the October Gallery Night, which allowed patrons to have open containers of alcoholic beverages outside, but did not cover the restrictions on the permits of businesses that hold liquor licenses through the state which prevents giving away alcohol for sampling.
“The special events permit was made so that patrons could take that glass of wine to the next gallery and so forth,” says NWF Arts Council Director Catherine Guin. “It worked beautifully. The only thing that came up is the businesses (that had the state permits) didn’t fit into that. Its up to (the merchants) to know about it.”
Global Grill co-owner Jane Taylor says she expects a great event on Nov. 21, but is hopeful the city will soon create an alcohol specialty area downtown which would allow alcohol to be served outside in a parameter that resembles the boardwalk at Pensacola Beach.
“Initially the Arts Council wanted to have this (specialty area) done by late November, but the ABT says it will likely be a longer process (to get passed) since you have to clearly instruct people of the boundaries,” she says. “But even without it, Gallery Night is going to be great and we hope for great business.”