Starting this Sunday, restaurants in Wrightsville Beach can serve alcohol beginning at 10 a.m., after the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the change following state passage of the “Brunch Bill.”
However, town and hospitality industry officials said that the changes would impact the town’s restaurants and bars differently, depending on the target market..
The board of aldermen approved the bill by a vote of 4-0, with one alderman not present at the meeting. The North Carolina General Assembly passed the “Brunch Bill,” S.B. 155, during the recently-concluded session. The bill, which lowers the start of alcohol sales from noon to 10 a.m. on Sundays, required that municipalities approve the change. The ordinance approved by the board goes into effect this Sunday.
Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair said he believed a few restaurants would be able to take advantage of the earlier serving time, but said the change probably wouldn’t have a big impact on most town establishments. There was no drawback to approving the change, he said.
The sentiment was echoed by some local business owners that stand to take advantage of the change.
Danny McPherson, owner of King Neptune restaurant at 11 N. Lumina Ave., said the change would make only modestly help the already busy breakfast service the restaurant draws. Before the board’s meeting, he said he hadn’t communicated with the board about making changes because of the limited effect.
“We could sell a few more drinks during that time, but it won’t have a huge impact, we’re already busy at 10 a.m.,” McPherson said.
Blockade Runner owner Bill Baggett said that the change would help with scheduling, since the beachfront resort could now open the pool bar consistently at 10 a.m. every day.
Bars that feature sports television stand to benefit from the earlier opening, especially during professional football season in the fall, as many National Football League games start at 1 p.m.
Jimmy’s at Red Dogs, a private club at 5 N. Lumina Ave. that doesn’t have a kitchen, draws large crowds for Sunday football, driven by frequent prizes and giveaways during the games.
Owner Jimmy Gilleece said the earlier time will be a big help during the football season.
“We didn’t open until noon, so there’s not a lot of time before kickoff. Now we can get open and get everything rolling,” Gilleece said. “It will be good for our giveaways. Now, we’ll have enough time to award prizes, instead of having to do it all during the game.”