Politics

Miami Beach Moves to Ban Late Alcohol Sales as Mayor Calls Ocean Drive a "Cancer"

Ocean Drive could be about to see last call. 

At yesterday's Miami Beach city commission meeting, mayor Philip Levine proposed banning outdoor alcohol sales throughout the city after 2 a.m — meaning no more late night $40 margarita bowls and $19 mixed drinks at bustling sidewalk restaurants or outdoor bars on the tourist strip. 

Levine wasn't shy about why he's pushing the change: He thinks Ocean Drive is a drunken, disgusting mess. Addressing commissioners, Levine said Ocean Drive was "turning into a Bourbon Street," he told the commission. "It's turning into a terrible place that's become a blight, a cancer that spreads to our entire city." 

Sounds like Levine isn't a fan of Mango's?  

After yesterday's discussion, which centered on Ocean Drive, Miami Beach's city attorney is set to draft an ordinance, which the commission will then consider in May. 

South Beach, among the most famous tourist destinations in the world, has long coexisted as a friendly beach destination by day and wild party spot by night. Any limit on alcohol sales, of course, is sure to rankle area business owners, but Levine told NBC6 his goal wasn't to kill the South Beach party.

"We want to have a great party atmosphere," he said. "But a controlled party atmosphere. A safe party atmosphere."

A recent string of embarrassing crimes on Ocean Drive surely hasn't helped the iconic strip's image in City Hall, including a Miami Beach cop caught getting plastered while working off duty at Mango's and a shooting just off the strip that wounded two visitors during Spring Break.  
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Trevor Bach