Miami Beach Mayor Pushes for 2 AM Alcohol Sale Limit on Ocean Drive

Miami Beach's mayor is pushing to limit liquor sales in parts of the city but some business owners think it's a bad idea.

Mayor Philip Levine says Ocean Drive has really become a dangerous place. Police are already ramping up enforcement but now the mayor wants to cut off alcohol sales at 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. and it's only on Ocean Drive.

"I believe unfortunately from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m., the folks coming to some of these clubs that are spilling out onto the street are really causing tremendous problems for our city, by the way they're making it so most people don't want to go to Ocean Drive anymore," Levine said.

Levine's bold proposal is ruffling feathers on Ocean Drive. On Wednesday he's asking commissioners to vote to stop liquor sales at 2 a.m. only on Ocean Drive at all bars and restaurants.

"If you want to drink until 5 a.m., go to Washington Avenue, go to the big bars, go to the clubs, go to the hotels, we have plenty of bars but Ocean Drive itself right now has gotten out of control," Levine said.

Police have increased patrols with a special task force and overall crime on South Beach is up a little more than two percent. Recently, a father and son were carjacked and held at gunpoint as they left a nightclub. Before that, a couple on the beach were robbed at gunpoint and a woman sexually assaulted.

"The iconic street of Ocean Drive has gotten terrible, we've had muggings, we have drug dealing, we have prostitution," Levine said.

But businesses along Ocean Drive said it's not their customers causing the trouble. They think the proposal is a bad idea.

Joshua Wallack is COO of Mangos, one of the handful of bars that would have to stop selling alcohol three hours earlier.

"As it's written this doesn't make any sense. All this would do is create, it would undo 30 years of progress really," Wallack said. "The businesses on Ocean Drive are the businesses that are creating vibrancy, life, resort tax revenue for the city."

Wallack says the move threatens the brand of Ocean Drive and Miami Beach.

"What is Miami beach about? It's about night life so by cutting night life off at the knees you're not helping. You're actually creating a calamity where the house of cards could literally collapse," he said.

The first reading for the proposal is Wednesday. The public will have a chance to say something at the meeting, which starts at 8:30 in the morning. Commissioners recently approved funding for a whole new police sector to cover just the businesses on South Beach.

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