Businesses Request Liquor Licenses

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The business of getting a buzz on the bricks of Court Street depends on one thing — liquor licenses.

Three more businesses are looking to start serving. Chipotle, Thai Paradise, and a new business called "Jerry's Tavern," currently known as Ski's Teases, have applied for a D5 liquor license. 

The classification of a liquor license is important, because licenses are granted by the state based off of population. A D5 permit is the most encompassing permit, allowing liquor and beer to be sold until 2:30 am. There are currently three left in this category. D1 liquor licenses, which includes beer only, are over quota by 2 in Athens. D2 licenses, which include wine and beer, are 4 over quota. 

There are 118 liquor licenses already issued in Athens, 19 of which are located on Court Street. Although there are more than 24,000 residents in Athens, only about 6,000 are of legal drinking age. That averages to about 1 alcohol-selling establishment per 60 residents. According to City Council, that is cause for concern.

"Many people in council feel that the more alcohol we're serving, the more detremental that becomes to the community," Council member Jeff Risner said.

In a meeting held on Monday, council discussed whether to pass a resolution to ask for a hearing about the permits.

"There are young people who are afraid to come to Ohio University to study for higher education because of their perceptions of Athens as a party town and I think it's a black eye on our community," Council member Jennifer Cochran said. 

Risner said he understands how a liquor license can help a business, but as a council member, he has other obligations to consider.

"City Council has obligations to the voters. A business does not vote. A business may be owned by a voter, but the business itself is not a voter. We have other obligations to the citizens of Athens."

The council will decide on Monday whether to pass the resolution to ask for a hearing about the permits.