A margarita too far: Miami Beach bans late night outdoor liquor

Thu May 28, 2015 12:21pm EDT
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By Zachary Fagenson and David Adams

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - Last call is coming earlier than usual at some outdoor bars and restaurants on Miami Beach as the tourist city tries to clean up its image by banning alcohol sales at sidewalk cafes after 2 a.m.

The move, which takes effect on Saturday, is targeted at Ocean Drive in the popular South Beach district. For years, sunburned vacationers there have slurped gargantuan $30 margaritas, with upside down Corona bottles sticking out of them, until 5 a.m.

City officials and residents complain that resulting disorderly behavior and crime are driving regulars away.

Kansas Parker, 22, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was dismayed to learn of the new regulation but said she understood the intent.

"Yesterday I walked down this street at 6 a.m.," she said, "and it was disgusting, trash everywhere."

Mayor Philip Levine, who spearheaded the rule, says the street has marred the city's picture postcard image of pastel-colored Art Deco hotels under swaying palm trees lining the seafront.

He likened Ocean Drive to Bourbon Street, New Orleans' alcohol-drenched tourist area.

"It's become a cancer, a cancer that spreads throughout our entire city," Levine said at a recent Miami Beach commission meeting.   Continued...

Four cousins from Atlanta and Denver on vacation for Memorial Day weekend sip an oversized margarita at South Beach's Congress Hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida, May 22, 2015.    REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson