Miami Beach Mayor proposes ending liquor sales at 2 a.m. on Ocean Drive

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - South Beach is known for partying well into the morning, but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is proposing an ordinance that would end alcohol sales at 2 a.m. on Ocean Drive.

Levine believes ending the sale of alcohol past 2 a.m. would help curb late-night crime in the area, which he believes has grown into a problem that scares away visitors.

“What started out as an iconic street — Art Deco — a place the whole world came to film and Versace was there with model shoots, has now become an area of prostitution, an area of drug dealing and crime,” Levine said.

Levine said his proposal would only stop bars from selling alcohol at 2 a.m., while hotels and restaurants could keep serving until 5 a.m.

But business owners in the area are split on the issue. Aylin Castillo, who tends bar at Ocean Stand Bar, believes the ban would have a bad impact. “The place in here, it gets crazy, especially from one or two o’clock, all night long until 5 o’clock sometimes,” Castillo said. “It will impact not only us. It will impact the whole beach.”

Levardis Mclaughlin, a party promoter, believes the area needs to keep its party atmosphere. “Come on, how can you not love the ambiance down here,” he said. “Look at it, look at it. You gotta love Miami, baby. They can’t close it up at 2. How can you stop this, man?”

A block away from Ocean Drive, the owner of the Viscay Hotel thinks late-night partying scares away customers.

“The later it is… fist fights, ugly scenes,” the Peter Szabo said. “It has been worse and worse. This is as bad as it gets, and I think it is going to get worse much faster if something is not done.”

In May, another hotel caught a drive-by shooting on its surveillance cameras.

Some tourists said they purposely avoided the area due to its reputation for partying. “I don’t think this area is going to change much,” one tourist said. “Because we just kind of avoided this area. We stayed at the resort, beach. We knew what this area was like, so we avoided it.”

The city commission will vote on the ordinance on Wednesday.

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