Monterey County

Monterey businesses on board with new outdoor drinking rule

Ordinance set to begin Thursday

MONTEREY, Calif. - Out and about in Monterey now means you can take your drink outside, but only in designated areas, the city said.

There's a growing consensus among Monterey businesses and city leaders: The new outdoor drinking ordinance on Alvarado Street is already a hit.

Set to officially begin Thursday, people were testing the outdoor areas without alcohol with two of the eight seating areas currently in use.

"There's really nothing better than having a beer outside," said J.C. Hill, the head brewer at the new Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill. The brewery opened Wednesday and Hill says the restaurant will have its own rules for consuming alcohol outside.

"You can't just grab a beer and loiter on the patio," Hill said. The rule is you have to also grab a seat and order from a server.

How much money is the city expecting to bring in when the ordinance goes into effect?

"It's not just about meal tax revenue, it really isn't," said Chip Rerig, the city's chief of planning, engineering and environmental compliance. "It's really an opportunity to allow private property owners to invest in their own properties."

The new ordinance doesn't allow you to walk up and down Alvarado with a glass of pinot noir in hand, you must be in one of the designated areas.

Rerig said the law is so popular that the Cannery Row Business Association has asked the city council to look into a similar program over there.

With very little pushback, the new ordinance is just one part of a downtown specific plan to revitalize the area.

The city said police will step up patrols on foot to give people a clear visual presence of law enforcement in downtown.

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