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A long list of businesses looking to serve or sell alcohol will finally go before the City of Atlanta alcohol license review board this week after months of delay. The committee on Thursday, July 30, is holding its first meeting since February. It will be held via Zoom at 5 p.m.
Atlanta stopped holding the hearing by order of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic halted most City Hall functionality including permitting which has since resumed online.
Most of the businesses looking to get a liquor license–including restaurant, retail, hotel, and others–have already opened and/or are close to opening. Highlights include the newly-acquired Star Bar in Little Five Points, Bad Axe Throwing which is looking to add a food component, and Good Morning on Edgewood Ave. (view the list and agenda here.)
“First of all, thank you to the Atlanta City Council for hearing us out and reopening the license review board,” Dennis McKinley, the owner of Good Morning, told What Now Atlanta Tuesday in a telephone interview. “We reached out to members and expressed that we simply can’t do business without our liquor license. We have a ton of customers that are waiting on [Good Morning] to open and we look forward to City Hall getting back up and running 100 percent soon.”
McKinley said that both Good Morning and Cru in Castleberry Hill will open Labor Day if all goes well during Thursday’s hearing. “We should have been open 90 days ago.”
In the future, McKinley hopes the City will consider going digital for a lot of the services needed to open a new business including permitting. “Through this pandemic, both government and private business have learned some lessons,” McKinley said. “Moving forward, we’ve got to have a digital process for business in Atlanta.”
In April Bottoms signed an Executive Order allowing restaurants to sell alcohol to-go amid the ongoing pandemic. The order is still in effect and was designed to help restaurants, which have had to scale back operations the past few months, create a new revenue stream. For many of the businesses slated to go before the review board this week, it’s a missed opportunity as they open amid a turbulent market.