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Port Royal's push to make last call for alcohol sales at restaurants two hours earlier will hurt business at Cowboys and Indians, the restaurant and bar that prompted town officials' review of the issue earlier this month, according to its owner.
But Kenton Richardson said his establishment will cope.
"It will definitely have a negative impact on revenue," said Richardson, whose family has been in the bar business for 15 years. "Management can maybe focus on building revenue on other nights. ... You just have to roll with the punches."
According to South Carolina law, restaurants and bars must stop pouring liquor at 2 a.m. but can continue serving beer and wine.
Jurisdictions can set earlier cut-off times for alcohol sales through local law, however.
The town of Port Royal currently prohibits the sale of beer or wine between 4 and 6 a.m.
At a Town Council meeting this month, police Capt. Alan Beach said the department thinks cutting off alcohol sales at 2 a.m. could stem calls to Cowboys and Indians, which have increased during the past two months. Incidents range from gun shots fired, assault and battery, theft, illegal parking and excessive noise to other nuisances, Beach said, with a majority of those calls coming after midnight.
The number of patrons -- and incidents -- at Cowboys and Indians has risen recently, Richardson said, but he added the business has taken steps to control the crowds that swell to 300 people some nights.
The restaurant increased its security detail from two to seven people on Friday nights.
Also on Fridays, Cowboys and Indians does not allow patrons to wear jackets or hooded sweatshirts. They must empty their pockets and be scanned by a metal detector before entering.
"A lot of people complain about it, but when there's 300-plus people in a relatively tight space, it's necessary," Richardson said. "Safety for my patrons and staff is always first and foremost. No one is going to come back if they don't feel safe."
Richardson contended that instead of coming to him to discuss issues such as overflow parking, town officials contacted his neighbors to get permission to block off access to nearby lots and grassy areas.
"There were a lot of things they did without speaking with me or the land owner," Richardson said, who added a good relationship with law enforcement is key to quelling ugly incidents.
Port Royal Town Council met this week with Beaufort City Council and discussed the prospect of an earlier last call.
Beaufort has not set a local "last call" for alcohol sales at restaurants and bars and defers to state law, Deputy Police Chief Dale McDorman said in an e-mail.
Beaufort County also follows state law, county public information officer Suzanne Larson said.
If Port Royal moves to cut all alcohol sales at 2 a.m. -- including beer and wine -- the city might consider a similar measure, Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
"I think we would certainly consider cooperating with them," Keyserling said. "We don't want people running back and forth trying to squeeze the most out of the night and perhaps endangering themselves or others in the process."