Old Sacramento’s Sidewalk Booze Ban May Be Lifted

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Terry Harvego sees a lot of people pass by his coffee and wine bar, District, and he wishes they could sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine. But they can’t because of an alcohol prohibition that only affects this particular area.

“Something that is unique to Old Sacramento,” says Harvego.  “And I don’t think a lot of folks know about it.”

Harvego is talking about a city code that says businesses can’t serve booze on the sidewalks – also known as boardwalks – in Old Sacramento. Even if they’ve created an outdoor seating area like Harvego did outside of his restaurant.

“It’s fun to have people on the boardwalks enjoying an alcoholic beverage with their meal,” says Harvego.  “And it’s not just the alcohol. It’s getting people outside. When people are outside, there’s more noise, conversation. It just brings an energy to the district and it would be great for Old Sacramento to have a little bit more energy.”

On Tuesday, August 23, Sacramento’s City Council will look at amending the city code to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol outside of businesses in Old Sacramento. The City Council report says the staff recommends the council approve the proposed ordinance. Some believe it could bring in more visitors to the popular tourist spot.

“I think it would be great for businesses,” said Sandra Neighbors, who was visiting Old Sacramento on Sunday. “Because you get to enjoy being out here in the weather and watching people.”

If the proposal goes through, it could change the look of some store fronts as more restaurants open outdoor seating. But the proposed ordinance is very specific about how the outdoor seating areas could look. For instance, the designated area can only be so large and there would have to be a barrier to foot traffic that matches the building.

“The beauty of old Sacramento is our architecture. So first and foremost we have to protect that,” said Harvego.

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