Ogden leaders mull change to alcohol rules for certain outdoor dining areas
OGDEN — Ogden leaders are weighing a change to loosen the availability of alcohol at locales along 25th Street and elsewhere in the city, a proposal meant to aid in efforts to bolster downtown activity.
The change under consideration, to allow serving of alcohol in certain sidewalk seating areas, is sought by Table Twenty Five, a new restaurant on Historic 25th Street in Ogden. Specifically, the change, focus of a planned Oct. 19 Ogden City Council public hearing, would allow the restaurant to serve alcohol in an outdoor seating area on the wide sidewalk in front of the locale.
A sidewalk section for pedestrians abutting the Table Twenty Five storefront must be crossed to reach the outdoor seating area, which edges to the curb, the particularity requiring the ordinance change up for consideration. Current ordinance already lets restaurants serve alcohol in sidewalk patio areas that abut their storefronts.
“Not a party atmosphere at all, just a situation where diners can enjoy a glass of wine without the patio having to be connected,” said Justin Buehler, co-owner of Table Twenty Five at 195 25th St. along with wife Jaimie Beuhler. As is, the restaurant, which opened in August, can only serve food and nonalcoholic drinks in the sidewalk dining area.
Changing rules governing alcohol in Ogden can be fraught with complication. Earlier this year, the Ogden City Council passed a measure 4-3 to expand the number of drinking establishments allowable in Ogden’s Central Business District Intensive Zone, change that had been sought by some business operators dating to 2009.
The latest change proposal, though, received a 6-0 recommendation of support from the Ogden Planning Commission. When Barton Brierley, Ogden’s deputy planning manager, made a presentation to the City Council at a work session on Tuesday, it generated no questions, comments or concerns.
Brierley said the general vision of planners and downtown boosters is to encourage sidewalk dining to bolster downtown activity. If the council approves the change allowing serving of alcohol in “amenity” zones, as the sidewalk strips like Table Twenty Five’s are known, he suspects more businesses would try to open up such dining areas.
“When you have that outdoor dining, it attracts other customers. It makes your downtown look lively,” he told the City Council. “It just feeds other businesses, makes others want to go there.”
Jaimie Beuhler said Table Twenty Five’s outdoor area typically fills up first on a nice day. “People love outdoor dining,” she said.
Brierley said easing of rules stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or DABC, allows for serving of alcohol in restaurants with sidewalk dining areas separated from their storefronts by pedestrian walkways. Local city councils, though, are the bodies that ultimately have to sign off on such change.
The aim is to give businesses more serving options, including outdoors dining, amid jitters brought on by the pandemic. DABC has extended the relaxed rules through Nov. 1, and whether the change is extended beyond that will be up to the state agency, according to Brierley.