Originally Published: June 11, 2015 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Last call for drinks at the July 4 street dance on Whiskey Row will be a bit earlier than expected this year.
At its Tuesday, June 9 meeting, the Prescott City Council approved a special event liquor license for the Whiskey Row Street Dance, but moved the closing time up by two hours.
While the application for the liquor license had listed a midnight closing time, the council changed the closing time to require the street dance to stop serving liquor at 10 p.m.
Alcohol service at special events has been a point of contention in recent weeks, as bar and restaurant owners along Whiskey Row have objected to allowing the alcohol service to continue late into the night.
Dave Michelson of The Palace Restaurant and Saloon brought up the issue again this week, questioning the application's listing of a midnight closing time.
Maintaining that 10 p.m. was too late as well, Michelson said, "We don't like 10, but we'd rather live with 10 than 11."
Councilman Greg Lazzell also objected to the midnight time on the application. He said he had spoken "at great length" with the promoter of the event, and had arrived at an 11 p.m. closing time.
Lazzell expressed some frustration that the application then listed a midnight closing time.
Promoter Steve Gottlieb of Eagle Management LLC was unable to attend the June 9 meeting, but said on Wednesday, June 10, that the application had been submitted before his discussion with Lazzell.
Recreation Services Director Joe Baynes said later that some confusion existed on the times. He clarified that the midnight time on the application referred to the end of the event, with the alcohol service intended to end at 11 p.m.
Councilman Chris Kuknyo, maintaining that the street dance is a July 4 tradition in Prescott, pushed for allowing the event to go until 11 p.m. "I would hate to see us kill the Whiskey Row Street Dance," he said.
An initial motion to allow the street dance to serve alcohol until 11 p.m. was defeated in a 3-3 vote, however, with Lazzell, and Councilmen Steve Blair and Jim Lamerson voting against it.
That led to a new motion for a 10 p.m. closure, which passed 5-1, with Kuknyo voting against it. (Councilman Charlie Arnold was absent.)
Of the new 10 p.m. time, Gottlieb noted that the Whiskey Row Street Dance already is "squeezed for time," because of the parade and the boot race that take place on the street earlier in the day. Although the liquor license lists the starting time as 3 p.m., Gottlieb said the dance likely would not be ready to open until about 5 p.m.
Still, Gottlieb said he would work within the City Council's guidelines. "This is what it's going to be," he said of the 10 p.m. closing time. "We'll make the best of it."
The street dance is a benefit event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Arizona.
In separate motions, the council also approved special event liquor licenses for Mile High Brew Fest (June 20, on Cortez Street between Goodwin and Gurley); the Prescott Firefighters Charities Spaghetti Western (June 27, on the 300 block of West Gurley); the Cowboy Dance (July 25, 201 S. Montezuma St.); the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo (June 28 to July 5, the Prescott Rodeo Grounds); and the Rodeo Dance (July 2 to July 5, 1365 Iron Springs Road).
The City Council plans to discuss the issue of special-event liquor licenses again on July 7.
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