By Rebecca Huff, Senior Staff Writer
Approximately 60 establishments have liquor licenses in Oxford, and 65 percent have a Sunday permit. O’Pub, The Wood’s and Left Field Tavern are all requesting permission to sell liquor on Sundays. This measure will be on Tuesday’s ballot for Oxford citizens in the impacted districts.
“By not having [a Sunday permit], we are the exception, not the norm,” said Ted Wood, owner of O’Pub, The Wood’s and the new restaurant, Left Field Tavern.
Tim Stiffler-Dean, an Oxford resident and manager of Kofenya, has no objections to having Sunday sales.
“Sunday is no different than Saturday,” he said. “It’s just another day.”
Alan Kyger, economic development director for Oxford, said opening on Sundays could still be beneficial, despite less traffic compared to other weekend days.
“I would put the NFL and World Cup Soccer as two of the biggest reasons you want to have Sunday sales,” Kyger said.
Buffalo Wild Wings, for instance, has a Sunday permit and is a popular place to watch any sporting event like NFL Sunday, March Madness, the World Series and the World Cup.
“We’re usually busy because people want to see the game,” said Sarah Lagatta, Buffalo Wild Wings employee.
Wood also explained how the Sunday Permit will open doors for a different demographic of customers.
“It’s not the students that will come in and drink on a Sunday morning or evening, but the locals and the parents,” Wood said.
Junior Danny Heller said he doesn’t go to bars on Sundays.
“I like to spend Sundays catching up on things and getting ready for the week,” said Heller. “If there was food around it like B-Dubs then I would definitely like more to be open on Sundays.”
Sunday liquor sales are not included in a liquor license because of seventeenth century “blue laws.” These laws prohibited secular activities that prevented people from attending church; businesses were closed and it was illegal to sell alcohol on Sundays.
Four centuries later, the states no longer enforce these laws. The decision is left up to the community where the businesses are located.
O’Pub and Left Field Tavern are located in the 2nd precinct, which means only residents of that precinct can vote for their Sunday permit. The same goes for The Wood’s. Only residents of the 7th Precinct can vote for The Wood’s Sunday permit.
The League of Women Voters (LWV) pointed out that the Sunday Permit could lead to the possibility of excess drinking. However, Kyger said it’s not the permit that’s the problem.
“If you said the Oxford bowling alley has a liquor permit, is that a bad thing? No. Is Kona having a liquor permit a bad thing? No.” Kyger said. “In some of our cases, our over-consumption doesn’t even happen in liquor establishments. It happens in houses.”
The LWV also believes there are already enough places to drink on Sundays in Oxford.
But Wood expressed how he wants to remain competitive.
“If you don’t offer it, people will go somewhere else,” he said.
Voting for O’Pub, The Wood’s and Left Field Tavern will be held on Nov. 3 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Shriver Center for the 2nd and 7th Precincts.