May 28, 2022

Essex Town Meeting to Repeal Alcohol Hours Ordinance

ESSEX—  Voters at a town meeting Wednesday will be asked to repeal an ordinance that prohibited an extra hour of alcohol sales by local bars and restaurants when it was adopted in the fall of 1979. The town meeting convenes at 6:50 p.m. in town hall.

The ordinance, approved by an October 1979 town meeting, barred the use of what were then called state nightclub permits to allow sales of alcoholic beverages as late as 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. Prompted by sometimes boisterous activities at the former Ivoryton Pub and the now closed Cove Road Inn in Chester, area officials had won legislative approval of a state law that allowed towns to ban the extra hour of alcohol sales through an ordinance approved by a town meeting.

More than 30 years later, the board of selectmen earlier this month agreed the 1979 ordinance should be taken off the books. First Selectman Norman Needleman said the hours of alcohol sales are now governed by state statutes, and the former “extra hour” is no longer an issue. “All of the town ordinances are now irrelevant,” he said.

State law currently allows sale of alcoholic beverages until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, though many establishments in Essex often close earlier than the allowed hours.