Alcohol consumption

Conway’s proposed drinking zone will be ‘good for business’, restaurant says

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Conway City Council is considering a plan to allow people to transport alcoholic beverages in open containers downtown and along the boardwalk dubbed the “drinking zone.”

The proposal is in the early stages of potentially becoming a reality, but Bonfire, a restaurant inside the proposed area along the promenade, fully supports the proposal.

“I think being able to go from business to business, stop by, have a drink, have a bite to eat, maybe have a drink with you when you’re at different events and all of that will add a lot to the business all around from Conway, not just Bonfire,” said Bonfire manager Alisa Haik. “I think it will be super beneficial for the city to get more people out, out for the day.”

The city hopes to increase foot traffic to downtown stores by allowing people to casually sip and shop with the ultimate goal of boosting business.

“I think it’s going to be really good for business,” Haik said. “A lot of people like to walk the boardwalk, especially at this time of year when you know where the ideal temperature is outside: not too hot, not too cold.”

In exchange for allowing open containers, the city is also considering moving the last call in the area from 2 a.m. to midnight. This change would affect a bar inside the drinking zone boundaries.

“Obviously it’s not for everyone to come in and drink a ton and walk around,” Haik said. “It’s just more of an inviting concept.”

The city council commissioned the Conway Chamber of Commerce to investigate. The investigation opened on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, 115 companies had responded, including 80 in favor of the plan.

Devin Parks, director of economic development at the Conway Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber’s position is one supported by most businesses. He said Conway is in a unique position to implement the consumer zone.

“[There are] much more [opportunities] for retailers to have more people going store to store and patronizing their businesses and a potential incentive for retailers to stay open a bit later to accommodate the area,” Parks said.

Parks said the most common concerns among those opposing the plan are the potential for litter, rowdiness and underage drinking.

“These will of course be very important stipulations that will need to be ironed out,” Parks said.

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The city council will take comments on the proposal during a workshop on Monday at 4 p.m. The city spokesperson told News13 that the city council’s direction on the proposal will be determined based on feedback received at the meeting.