State Politics

From Surf City to Hendersonville, towns rush to allow 10 a.m. brunch booze

Mimosas are made at the bar as customers enjoy brunch at 5Church restaurant in Charlotte.
Mimosas are made at the bar as customers enjoy brunch at 5Church restaurant in Charlotte. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Raleigh and Carrboro won’t be the only communities allowing 10 a.m. Sunday alcohol sales starting this week: Several towns from the mountains to the coast also passed new ordinances under the state’s “brunch bill.”

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill into law on June 30, allowing restaurants to begin serving mimosas and other alcoholic beverages at 10 a.m. Sundays instead of noon – but local government boards must first approve the change, which also applies to sales of alcohol in stores.

Town and city councils can make the change inside their borders, while county commissioners are in charge of any unincorporated areas.

Carrboro became the first town with 10 a.m. alcohol sales with a Monday vote by the Board of Aldermen. The Raleigh City Council followed on Wednesday with a 7-1 vote.

Two beach towns voted Thursday to expand alcohol sales: Atlantic Beach in Carteret County and Surf City on Topsail Island.

“A lot of our visitors are from out of state and the blue laws that North Carolina has in effect seem a little arcane to people and they may not know about them,” Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper told TV station WNCT. “If someone is visiting from out of state and planning to go to the beach on a Sunday morning, they may be surprised they weren’t allowed to buy cold beers.”

Across the state in Hendersonville, the city council voted 4-1 Thursday night to immediately expand Sunday alcohol sales, according to the Hendersonville Lightning.

Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Republican who supported the bill, praised his hometown leaders on Twitter Friday. “Hendersonville moved quickly,” he tweeted. “I think I know to which brunch I'm going on Sunday!”

While those towns appear to be the only five allowing Sunday morning sales on July 9, other towns are poised to join the list the following Sunday.

Wrightsville Beach plans to vote Monday, according to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, but Wilmington and other beach towns nearby will likely wait a few more weeks before taking action.

The mayor of Pinehurst says she’ll bring up the issue at the village council’s meeting on Tuesday, according to The Pilot. Banner Elk in Avery County is scheduled to vote Monday, according to the High Country Press.

On the Outer Banks, the Nags Head commissioners had scheduled a vote for Friday but then voted 3-2 to postpone the issue until later in the month, according to The Outer Banks Voice. Kill Devil Hills could vote Monday.

Mecklenburg County commissioners plan to vote Tuesday, but their action will only apply to businesses in unincorporated areas, according to WCNC. The Charlotte City Council plans to take up the issue on July 24.

Durham likely won’t vote on alcohol sales until Aug. 7. Wake County Commissioner John Burns said county leaders wouldn’t act until at least July 17 but are “working on” the issue. The unincorporated areas affected by the county’s decision includes Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

  Comments