Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Business & Finance
  3. Industry

Michigan alcohol laws cause Grand Rapids bars and restaurants confusion

See also

Some Grand Rapids restaurants who extend their liquor license to include outdoor seating put fences around their patios under the mistaken impression that the Michigan alcohol laws require it.

The vaguely worded regulation leads to confusion and misinterpretation of the rule. Restaurant owners have been confused by the rule for so long that it isn't questioned anymore.

The rule states is that a licensee shall ensure the area is "well defined and clearly marked."

The MLCC is aware of the confusion that the wording of the rule has caused. The agency has done some staff training to remedy the regulation's lack of clarity.

Municipalities can mandate fencing through zoning laws at a local level, but Grand Rapids has never required fences.

The Sundance Grill in Grand Rapids went without an outdoor patio fence when it moved to the Ottawa Tavern spot at Ottawa Avenue and Pearl Street NW. Flowerpots mark the restaurant’s defined seating area. The rule doesn't say anything about fencing or complete physical barriers.

As a matter of fact, the city feels it is better to have less fencing so that customers can enjoy the streetscape and the sidewalk feels more open and attractive.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority (now Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.) encouraged Sundance to go fence-free because the city sees them as an impediment to pedestrian flow on the sidewalk.

Some establishments prefer their fences. Restaurant owners worry about people seating themselves then having to have a hostess stand outside. Some say fences make some customers more comfortable, since they keep pedestrians and panhandlers from getting mixed-up in the tables.

The outdoor seating season in Michigan is here. You might see the fences removed from some Grand Rapids bars and restaurants' outdoor patios this year.

Advertisement

News

  • Baseball Hall of Fame
    The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomes six new inductees
    Video
    Video
  • 2012 do-over
    If we were to re-do the 2012 election, a new poll suggests Romney would win
    Politics
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram kidnaps the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon
    World News
  • Ceasefire breaks
    Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas broke another brief ceasefire
    Gaza
  • Close call with CME
    Scientists tell how Earth survived a giant solar flare back in 2012
    Space
  • Comic-Con
    What's going on at Comic-Con? Get all the latest updates here
    Comic-Con