ST. LOUIS — A new proposal from Greater St. Louis Inc. wants the City of St. Louis to make some changes when it comes to bars and their hours, claiming safety as the biggest benefit.
In the new proposal, Greater St. Louis wants new bars, clubs and venues that set up shop in primarily residential and office areas to close their doors by 1:30 a.m., getting rid of the 3 a.m. option.
“The initiative to update the zoning code in Downtown was brought to us by a group of engaged Downtown residents looking to support implementation of the Design Downtown STL plan and improve neighborhood safety for residents," Greater St. Louis CEO Jason Hall said in a statement.
St. Louis Ward 5 Alderman James Page said he supports the proposal.
“We have a lot of residents here who live in lofts that they paid good money for and apartments, they're paying good leases for," Page said. "I think they are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their residences, without clubs, keeping them up until two, three, sometimes four o'clock in the morning."
Shay Foster said she comes downtown pretty frequently and thinks it might make a difference.
“3 a.m. is pretty late having people outside on the road, you know, less accidents. People are in the house at a more reasonable time," she said. "So I think that's something they could try out and see how it works. If it'll decrease safety issues, and I think it's something they can propose for sure."
This would only affect new establishments that want to open up in more residential areas like Washington Avenue. Those areas are highlighted in this map in yellow and teal as mixed use/residential and mixed use/office center:
It wouldn't affect bars and venues around stadiums, the convention center and casino.
Greater St. Louis Inc. noted in the plan that the excise commissioner is responsible for liquor licenses, so the zoning effort will not regulate those.
Jim Callahan, co-owner of The Boom Boom Room, a lounge and theater club on Washington Avenue, said while he had no interest in a 3 a.m. liquor license, he thinks there's a different problem here.
“I don't think it's the bars that are causing the problem," Callahan said. "I think it's the fact that there's a group of people who feel like they want to cause the riffraff here."
Callahan also lives on Washington and said something really needs to be done about the loitering instead of the closing-hour change.
“I've seen people carrying semi-automatic weapons in front of my house," he said. "We hear shots. This is the problem. People are coming and, because they don't have the money for the cover charge to get in anywhere, they're loitering. Those are the people causing the problems that's just it."
The proposal would also prohibit new bars from popping up in those particular areas that are more than 10,000 square feet.
In order to pass, the proposal would the Board of Alderman and the mayor to sign off on it.