Yesterday was a big day for bars and restaurants in Oakland Park. After a unanimous commission vote last week, the city lifted its law prohibiting the sale of alcohol between 7 a.m. and noon on Sunday mornings.
Oakland Park is the latest in a string of cities (including Fort Lauderdale, Margate and Deerfield Beach) to repeal their so called "blue laws.”
You can make an argument that Oakland Park’s blue law repeal started with a group of English hooligans who wanted to watch their European soccer matches.
"Either Liverpool fans or Manchester United fans,” said Ed D'Ottavio.
D’Ottavio’s the co-owner of the Stout Irish Pub - a relatively new bar just north of W. Oakland Park Blvd.
The English regulars would come to D'Ottavio's bar pretty much every Friday or Saturday during happy hour. “And they'd say: Hey Ed, we really want to see this match, can you open at eight o'clock for us to see it on Sunday. And we'd have to tell them time after time that we wouldn't be able to open for them."
To watch live European soccer from the United States you have to get up early, often on a Sunday.
In a city with blue laws that means you probably won't find an open sports bar with the necessary sports cable package. You definitely won't find a pint of celebratory beer.
"Soccer's no fun without a beer," said Anne Sallee, mayor of Oakland Park.
Sallee said representatives from the Stout Irish Pub as well as the Fox & Hound Pub brought the soccer problem to her attention.
“It was really a short conversation,” she said. “It was: We have people who come in, who would stay longer and spend more money and maybe be more frequent customers if they could have a drink. And there wasn't any reason not to consider it."
Sallee added that Oakland Park is in the process of redefining itself as a culinary destination. Allowing a mimosa or bloody mary with Sunday brunch certainly can't hurt the effort.
The repeal went into action immediately after the second reading and unanimous vote last week.