State Theatre owner Daniel Waide says allowing his business to extend operating hours to 3 a.m. on weekends would help Starkville's nightlife rival that of other college towns in the Southeast.
The city's current ordinance allows bars to serve alcohol until 1 a.m. on the weekends and midnight on weeknights.
The Dispatch reports that the Starkville Board of Aldermen took no action on Waide's request during Tuesday's meeting. Alderman Roy A. Perkins spoke against the idea, saying it would set a bad precedent and put a strain on police.
Waide said extending hours of his establishment could have the same effect on revenue as that of Cowbells, a bar located in the County and operating under rules allowing it to have longer hours of alcohol sales.
Cowbells, however, has been criticized by Oktibbeha County Sheriff Dolph Bryan because of the level of drunk driving to and from the bar.
Perkins told Waide that Starkville's main attraction — Mississippi State University — is enough to draw visitors without extending bar hours.
"If we stop selling alcohol, people will still come here," Perkins said. "We can have growth and economic development without extending hours. If I could, I would vote to repeal Sunday sales."
The Dispatch reports that State Theatre also will apply to the State Tax Commission to extend its hours under its current "resort status," which it gained in the early 1990s when it was the Statehouse Hotel.
Resort status, granted to businesses with significant historical or tourism value, allows establishments in dry areas or in city limits to serve alcohol 24 hours a day. However, a city's governing body can petition to have the hours of any area with resort status fall in line with its normal alcohol sales times.
Having the city's blessing would give Waide's request a significant boost.