Interim restaurant liquor license scheme approved in 3 council districts

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a new restaurant beverage program in three council districts that will see restaurant owners obtain full liquor licenses within weeks.

Known for its Argentinian flavors and matching wines, the bar at Bodega Malbec in Toluca Lake has primarily been used for food as alcohol is not permitted here.

“We always wanted to be here, but it was really, really…it’s a process,” restaurant owner Javier Pardini said.

Pardini opened the restaurant more than a decade ago but has yet to obtain a liquor license, but new city policy has it ready for happy hour.

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“I’m excited to have something like this going to make it easier. It would be great to have a little bar with full booze,” he said.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who has been working for years to obtain provisional permits, said there is a list of conditions restaurants would have to agree to in order to gain over-the-counter approval.

“Restaurants have struggled so much. It’s really important to give the restaurant industry more momentum here in Los Angeles,” the councilman said.

Under the new policy, if a restaurant can seat between 10 and 150 people, agrees not to have live music, outside TV monitors or serve after 11 p.m., it can be licensed without the usual steps that can take months and sometimes cost tens of thousands. of dollars.

“The truth is, there are too many overlapping licensing requirements that get in the way of entrepreneurs trying to start a business,” Krekorian said.

Opponents of provisional permits, however, fear it is a slippery slope.

“It removes the public comment part of the process and does not allow people, such as in local areas or communities, to speak on behalf of the type of establishments they would like in their neighborhood,” said Raul Verdugo, from the Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Alliance, said.

In fact, the LA Drug and Alcohol Alliance fought against the new beverage program.

“When you have a large concentration of alcohol outlets, you’re going to have a higher proportion of criminal activity,” Verdugo said.

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, said they just wanted a chance to compete.

“It’s a compliment to the dinner experience,” Pardini said.

It would also, of course, bring in money, which would finally give the industry something to drink.

“It would really, really help to come back from the chasm we’ve been through,” added Pardini.

At present, the Provisional Liquor License for Restaurants is only available in Districts 2, 4 and 15, but four other council districts are voting to join the program on Friday.

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