Alcohol consumption

Last call! Conway Proposes Downtown ‘Drinking Zone’, Midnight Cutoff | New

An area allowing people to walk from restaurant to restaurant with an alcoholic beverage could be coming to downtown Conway.

Conway City Council plans to vote on the proposal later this month.

People visiting downtown restaurants and bars are currently not allowed to move from business to business with a drink in hand. However, there is an exception whenever the city has a permitted event that creates a defined area where alcohol is permitted.

Conway executives are considering making such an area permanent. They also proposed a last-call requirement, which would mean businesses that sell alcoholic beverages would have to close at midnight.

Conway Police Chief Dale Long said with the city’s growth and downtown renovations bringing in more overnight guests, late-night drinking could become problematic.

“I think a good balance for this is a midnight cut-off time,” Long said of the proposed drinking zone.

Long said he spoke to several restaurateurs, who supported the proposal.

The new area would be an overlay district located in the same area as the Waccamaw River and Conway CBD neighborhoods. This area encompasses portions of Third and Fourth Avenues and the downtown section of Main Street to just past Fifth Avenue.

For example, this exception would allow a customer to walk from Rivertown Bistro to Chanti’s with a beer in hand. A customer can also walk from a restaurant to a retail store with a drink in hand, if the retail store allows it.

The area encompasses some wetlands, though those areas are protected from future development, city spokeswoman June Wood said. The proposed area is in an area already defined by other neighborhoods, which is why the city is proposing the same space, Wood added.

Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said the later people drink, the more people drink, which is when crime can spike.

“It’s going to be good for everyone involved,” she said of the midnight cut.