Abilene Looking At New Alcohol Ordinance

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - A new alcohol sales ordinance is on the agenda for Abilene's city council meeting on Thursday. If it passes, it could mean that some big changes could be coming to downtown.

That's because alcohol being served until 2 in the morning is something that Abilene has never seen before.

City Manager Robert Hanna says "Late hour permits are something that's alowed in a lot of cities, so this is an opportunity for us to do it, too."

It's largely through the efforts of Johnny Johnson, owner of Big Johnson's Liquor and Beer, and the movement that he started.

Johnson explains, "One night I just decided to do the Make Abeline Late page, we went and finished the description, had a bunch of likes, the next day I got a bunch of phone calls from some city leaders, and a lot of good response from some other people."

This ordinance to "Make Abilene Late" is on its first reading, meaning that it will need to be presented before council two more times before it is passed.

City Manager Hanna says that businesses are already on board, saying, "The business community seems to be interested in doing this, and it doesn't hurt to have the conversation."

Those businesses will be able to choose whether they want to stay open later, or just stay as is. Fatboys is one bar that is looking forward to the changes.

Fatboys owner Peter Choiniere says, "It gives us more opportunity for my customers to stay out and enjoy the good times responsibly."

Responsibility and making sure that customers stay safe is one of the most important things at Fatboys.

Choinere explains, "We still have the taxi services, we have Uber that goes to all the bars, and plus, whenever you go out to drink, you always have a plan whenever you leave the house to make it home safely. It's all about responsibility as a business owner and as bartenders."

In addition to the two remaining readings of the ordinance, there is a public hearing planned where citizens will be able to voice their opinions.

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