Late night closing time is back for Miami Beach bars

Author: Associated Press
Police dispersing a crowd at Miami Beach. Credit: Kevin Green via CBS Miami

Closing time is moving back to 5 a.m. for some Miami Beach bars after a judge granted the Clevelander Hotel a temporary injunction blocking the city from limiting hours in the South Beach entertainment district.

The hotel sued Miami Beach over the new law, which went into effect May 22 and prohibited bars from serving alcohol until 5 a.m. Closing time under the law was set at 2 a.m.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Beatrice Butchko on Monday granted the Clevelander hotel the injunction for the duration of the lawsuit. But on Tuesday night, the city commission said it would no longer enforce a prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol, the Miami Herald reported.

The city had appealed the order to the Third District Court of Appeal, triggering an automatic suspension of the order. But the judge lifted the stay Tuesday at the request of the Clevelander.

“Effective immediately, the City will NOT be enforcing the 2 a.m. alcohol sale/service/consumption prohibition as the court has entered an injunction and vacated the stay,” a city spokeswoman told the Herald late Tuesday.

The judge said the 2 a.m. prohibition “was not properly enacted” because commissioners approved the legislation with affirmative votes from four of seven commissioners, instead of the five necessary to approve zoning changes.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber had proposed the 2 a.m. closing time as a way to curb crime and limit late-night partying in South Beach. The Herald reported that the city approved the ban as a temporary pilot program and intended to call a citywide referendum in November to ask voters whether it should be permanent.

Clevelander attorney Alexander Tachmes told the newspaper he was glad the city decided to stop enforcing its new law. He said his hope was that the decision would foster cooperation between the city and the businesses that run its world-famous nightlife scene.

“The ordinance was approved improperly, and we’re confident that at the end of the litigation the 2 a.m. ordinance will be struck down,” he said.

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