Oxford OKs Sunday alcohol in restaurants

town_oxford_greenBy Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – If state regulators agree, Oxford restaurants will soon be able to offer liquor, wine and beer by the glass every Sunday between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Aldermen voted 6-1 on Tuesday to change the city ordinance that for two years has experimented with legal on-premises alcohol service on nine or 10 Sundays a year, including football weekends at the University of Mississippi. They also voted last year to allow Sunday sales of beer and light wine for off-premises consumption.

Tourism officials have championed the extra day of restaurant alcohol service as a way to encourage weekend visitors to stay an extra day and to increase revenue for restaurants. Tupelo, New Albany, Batesville, Holly Springs and other nearby cities already permit on-premises Sunday service.

“I want to thank the restaurants that have been open on Sunday even though they couldn’t serve alcohol,” said Alderman Janice Antonow. With the anticipated opening of many more restaurants on future Sundays, she urged Oxonians to reward those already serving food on Sundays with their continued patronage.

Alderman Ulysses “Coach” Howell, who historically has opposed most easing of alcohol ordinances, was the lone vote against the change.

Mayor George “Pat” Patterson also voiced his opposition.

“While I support the restaurants’ opening on Sunday … I fail to see how opening the bars on Sunday will improve the character of our community,” Patterson said.

Final approval for every-Sunday alcohol service must come from the Mississippi Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverage Control.

errol.castens@journalinc.com