HAYWARD -- Restaurant patrons can continue sipping at happy hours and listening to live music for six more months while the city overhauls its rules for alcohol sales, with an eye toward making it easier to shut down problem businesses.
The council voted in June to permit reduced-price drinks from 4 to 9 p.m. at restaurants on a trial basis through mid-December.
"There has not been a spike in incidents since we allowed happy hour," council member Mark Salinas said before the trial period was extended on a 5-1 vote, with Mayor Michael Sweeney opposing. Councilman Al Mendall was absent.
Mimi's Cafe general manager Tony Everfield told the council that happy hour has improved his gross sales by 5 percent, which he called very good.
"And live music on Wednesdays has increased our sales from $3,000 to $6,000," he said.
The city also is considering allowing dancing at restaurants that serve alcohol, which currently is banned. The restaurants would have to apply for a city permit and get the approval of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said David Rizk, Hayward development services director.
One of the goals of revising the alcohol sales regulations is to give the city more authority to regulate all establishments that sell alcohol.
Hayward has 21 bars and nightclubs, 17 of which were grandfathered in when the city began requiring conditional use permits for the sale of alcohol. While those 17 bars are subject to ABC regulations and Hayward's public nuisance rules, the city wants to develop more aggressive ways to immediately shut down problem establishments, Rizk said.
"We would like to have more tools in the toolbox," he said.
The next step is a community meeting Tuesday with residents and businesses that sell alcohol. The staff will come back to the council in the spring with proposed rules and fees.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.
What: To discuss regulation of alcohol sales in Hayward
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Hayward City Hall Council Chamber, 777 B St.