St. Pete Beach city commissioners may soon loosen the beach alcohol ordinance for hotels that would allow guests to drink on the sand in the cabana area of the beach.

  • St. Pete considers alcohol consumption on beach
  • Commission meeting to be held August 8th
  • Approval given by Sheriff

“I think it’s a good thing. We want to make people happy to come to the beach,” said Mayor Al Johnson.

The proposed ordinance calls for the cabanas to be at least 50 feet away from the “wet sand”, guests must wear a wristband and only purchase drinks from the hotel between the hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Glass and plastic straws would still be prohibited along with “walk-up” distribution of alcohol. It’s a change the beach front hotels have been pushing the city commission to make.

“It’s an expectation that if you come to a first class resort, you’re going to be able to get a piña colada or a margarita on the sandy beach in your cabana,” said Keith Overton, Pres. of the Trade Winds Resort.

“I think our commission understands that and they’re doing everything they can to make that happen,” said Overton

The ordinance was on the agenda for the July 25 city commission meeting but Mayor Johnson said it’s likely going to be tabled until the Aug. 8 meeting.

Johnson said he expects the restrictive ordinance to pass.

“We’re trying to be more cooperative with our businesses but at the same time not ruin the look and feel of the place,” said Johnson.

“It’s a family friendly beach and we want to keep it that way,” he said.

The Mayor said the commission has only heard from a few residents who are crying foul and also want to be allowed to drink alcohol on the beach.

“I’ve talked to some people that were concerned that we were treating them (the hotels) different than the residential facilities,” he said.

“We are, but there’s a lot of reasons for that. The hotels all have liquor licenses,” he added.

Johnson also said they’ve consulted with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office about the proposed changes and were given the green light.

“We’ve done a lot of discussion with the Sheriff. We’re trying to put together something he can enforce and he’s happy with it,” said Johnson.

“So, I think moving forward it’s going to be a good change for us,” he said.