Petition: Coconut Grove Businesses Want 5 a.m. Booze Curfew

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​Mr. Moe's restaurant-bar is the kind of place where frat boys guzzle $5 Jäger bombs while watching Monday Night Football. The joint is shaped like a log cabin on the outside and is decorated with an American flag on the inside. Owner John El-Masry doesn't mince words when he talks about how commissioners have screwed him.

A couple of years ago, the City of Miami passed an ordinance prohibiting Grove businesses from serving alcohol past 3 a.m. "It's been devastating," he says. "We want the same hours of operation as the rest of the city."

El-Masry is circulating a petition to change the booze curfew back to 5 a.m. It has about 330 signatures so far.

City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff pushed for the limit -- which passed in June 2008 -- in part to prevent drunk driving. El-Masry says it sent a message to bar- and clubgoers in the rest of the county, essentially: Don't come here; we are a dull, sleepy little place.

Naturally, residents aren't bemoaning the loss of wasted tourists roaming the streets at all hours. But the owners of nightlife venues make a good argument: Why should the Grove have more rules than the rest of District 2?

Business owners aren't the only ones. Liliana Dones, of the Coconut Grove Village Council, recently posted a link to the petition on her Twitter account. So did Coconut Grove Grapevine blogger Tom Falcoo. "Keep the Grove alive," they say. The issue will go before commissioners in January.

Update: David Karsh, Director of Communications for Commissioner Sarnoff, says crime in the village corridor has decreased 24 percent since the ordinance passed. "We have a tremendous amount of support for keeping it at 3 a.m." Check out those letters here  5 am.pdf

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Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill