Bar owners in Covington may be paying more to stay open later

By Joe Danneman - bio | email

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Bar owners in Covington may soon be serving up more cash to the city if they want to stay open late.

Right now it costs bar owners in Covington an extra $5,000 to stay open from 1 a.m. until 2:30 a.m.

It's a once a year liquor license fee. But city commissioners are meeting Tuesday to discuss if it's time to raise those fees.

Like any city, Covington is trying to crunch its budget. And like most cities, Covington's leaders need to cut back or raise fees.

"The 2:30 liquor licenses have not been raised. We've gone as far back as 10-years," said Shawn Masters, a Covington city commissioner.

That's why Masters says the 2:30 a.m. liquor license might be a good place to start. Because just inflation alone would push that yearly $5,000 fee up.

"Any increase in this economic time is probably not necessarily a good thing for all of the businesses, but at the same time, we need to make sure that the fee is fair for what services we're actually providing for that as well," said Masters.

"It's definitely not going to shut us down," said Matt Heringer, the owner of Zola Pub and Grill.

Heringer says the big bars on MainStrasse would likely pay any reasonable increase to stay open late. But smaller bars probably can't afford it.

"I definitely think it's a big deal for smaller bars that only serve alcohol," said Heringer.

City commissioners will talk about the liquor license fees Tuesday with Covington's mayor and city manager. If there's enough support to raise those fees, it will go to a vote next Tuesday.