Old alcohol ordinance may soon be on the way out

By: Bill Schammert

A Lincoln city ordinance dating back to the Truman Administration could soon be a thing of the past.

Since 1949, it has been against city law for an unaccompanied person under 16 years old to go anywhere that has a liquor license.

“It was written to keep young people out of bars at night,” council member Doug Emery said. “That's not where we live today.”

And it doesn't only apply to bars. The ordinance applies to restaurants, event arenas, grocery stores and yes, movie theatres.

The 65-year-old rule was brought to light last month after Marcus Theatres asked for, and was granted a liquor license for their Grand location in Lincoln. But, a spokesperson for the company said it would hold off on serving alcohol until the city figures out what to do about this ordinance.

“As it's written, it's not enforced,” attorney Tim O'Neil said at Monday's city council meeting. “It's overly broad and we really hope you repeal the ordinance.”

It's an option that's on the table and seems likely, but not everyone is completely sold, yet.

“There are more places where alcohol is available today,” councilman Jonathan Cook said. “Maybe that creates a larger concern. It's at least something that needs to be talked about.”

The Lincoln City Council is expected to officially vote on whether to repeal the ordinance at next Monday's meeting.