OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - “I could lose everything.”
That’s what one coast bar owner told us Monday about his small business since the governor’s restrictions on serving alcohol after 1 p.m. went into effect.
Jeff Pauley, owner of the Stagecoach Lounge in Ocean Springs, said his bar and others in the area will suffer due to the new alcohol restrictions.
“We moved our bands earlier to 8 p.m. to get started and nobody’s in here, so this is hurting us real bad,” said Pauley. “I’m about to lose everything I own that I worked so hard for in the last five years. I’m getting ready to lose everything over these restrictions.”
Normally at night, the Stagecoach Lounge is jammed and the dance floor is full, but the restrictions will cause small bars that thrive on late-night gatherings, financial difficulties.
Pauley said his bar caters to live music and is known as a live music venue. So, generally his clientele starts showing up around 10 p.m. so to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. “defeats the purpose.”
Other bar owners agree with Pauley, including Lance Pippin, owner of Henry’s Bar and Grill in Ocean Springs, who gathered to share concerns about the new alcohol restrictions. Pauley and the bar owners said the serving alcohol mandate also means their late night venues that usually feature live music are suffering greatly.
Pippin said it doesn’t just limit the late night drinking crowd. It also stops people who come in for pool and dart tournaments, and other late night activities.
“Even if you start at 8 p.m. an event’s not over past midnight,” said Lance Pippin. “So you have to shuffle all those things to start at 5 p.m. in the afternoon sometimes and people are still at work and getting off. It’s daylight outside and it’s really hard to get those people to come in that early.”