OXFORD – Sunday was a two-faceted special occasion for some Oxford restaurateurs: It was Mother’s Day, which typically brings large crowds out for a meal, and it was the first Sunday under which diners could have alcohol with their food under an ordinance passed in February.
The ordinance allows Sunday sales of adult beverages on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Sunday nearest University of Mississippi home football games and Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve when they happen to fall on Sunday.
The largest difference seemed to be the bottom line.
“It really helped out. Many tables bought a bottle of wine with their meals, and some people ordered beer,” said Spencer Treanor, assistant general manager of Old Venice Pizza Co. on the Square. “We had a couple of people who came from out of town and thought it was awesome to be able to have a drink in Oxford on Sunday.”
Joel Miller is owner and chef at Ravine, which is outside of Oxford but sells alcohol under a resort-status license tied to Oxford’s hours and days of legal operation.
“It was certainly a pleasant boost. It makes it easier for me to make it through the summer when I can have a few weekends like this,” Miller said.
Treanor and Miller also reported no problems at all with the drunken misbehavior that often breaks out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when students congregate at downtown bars.
“We didn’t have our bar open upstairs; we just had the bar in the back, where people ate and drank and watched basketball all day,” Treanor said.
Police Chief Mike Martin said officers made three arrests Sunday – a disturbing the peace and two for public drunkenness.
“That’s nothing close to a Saturday night,” he said.
The average weekend generates 115 calls for police help, he said, but this weekend’s count was 90.
“The Square was pretty crowded on Sunday, but statistically it wasn’t bad at all,” Martin said.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal Oxford Bureau