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Open container protest planned for Tuesday's Delray City Commission Meeting

The City Commission for the City of Delray Beach, Florida is holding a special meeting/workshop on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Delray's City Hall. The purpose of the workshop will be to discuss the denial of two downtown Delray Beach local taverns to extend their alcohol license to beyond their immediate premises to celebrate St. Patrick's Day next month.

Delray Beach City Manager puts the quash on drinking alcohol in public during St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Protesters appeal to the City Commission.
Delray Beach City Manager puts the quash on drinking alcohol in public during St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Protesters appeal to the City Commission.
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Heather Johansen, President, H. J. O’Connor’s Pub, Inc. is appealing a decision by Delray Beach City Manager denying her application to let customers drink in public.
Ryan B. /

Heather Johansen, President of H. J. O’Connor’s Pub, Inc., and Bob Brudzinski, Owner of the Bru’s Room were seeking what has become the norm at many Delray Beach events, especially St. Patrick's Day - the ability for customers to openly carry their alcoholic beverages beyond their respective businesses. Delray Beach City Manager Louie Chapman, Jr. denied their applications this year prompting Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein to call for Tuesday's special meeting after hearing how upset the community was about the denials.

Many residents were surprised by the denial as the city commission recently lifted the Sunday morning ban on alcohol sales for Delray Beach and the city manager's decision seemed to be a change in direction on their alcohol policy, a change Delray residents are not willing to take laying down.

Supporters of the businesses involved as well as libertarian-minded activists are expected to attend the workshop en masse carrying red plastic Solo cups as a visual mode of support to have open container alcohol in downtown Delray during St. Patrick's Day celebrations occurring from noon to 8:00 p.m. on March 15, 2014.

Michael "Bongo" Hawn, a member of the popular local band, The Funkabilly Playboys, said, "Speaking specifically to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade open container law, it’s ridiculous to think that by restricting the sidewalk sale of alcohol is good for business. Restricting sales is never good for business. Ever. The idea that visitors to Delray will be driven inside establishments to get their refreshments is true, but without more available points of sale, the business can’t make any more money per hour than any other normal business day. The parade then, becomes a liability not a rainmaker. I’m not sure who is involved with changing the traditions of Delray, but it’s sad to see. The bars, the restaurants, the galleries and former Commissioners all worked hard to turn Delray into a great cultural city. Those of us who lived here and worked here (as musicians, artists, servers, bartenders) weren’t just building a nightlife to line our own pockets , we were building a community, a culture, a vibrant downtown that not only drew weekend visitors from neighboring cities, but helped to make a great place to live. Who moves into a thriving community, and then decides to strangle the life out of it?"

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