Raleigh bars look forward to serving earlier alcohol on Sundays

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Starting this Sunday, Raleigh patrons can enjoy alcoholic drinks before noon.

The Raleigh City Council on Wednesday joined Carrboro in approving earlier Sunday alcohol sales under the newly passed "Brunch Bill."

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"It's a huge plus, clearly," said Austin Fisher in Raleigh.

Fisher said he used to bartend at a country club and found the old law to be a hassle, especially when customers still ordered alcohol.

"People would come in at 9, 10 o'clock, order drinks and I'd have to write down a big tab because I couldn't ring it up until noon," Fisher.

The new law signed by Gov. Roy Cooper allows retail outlets and restaurants to start selling alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays (instead of noon) and local governments can adjust restaurant serving hours to earlier.

"I enjoy being able to go out and get a mimosa, a drink if I want to," said Matt Schafer while having lunch at The Station on Person Street.

While customers are rejoicing about the change, those behind the bar hope to cash in.

"We planned a 'free the mimosa' brunch party for this Sunday," said Gillian McLane, Assistant General Manager of Hibernian Pub on Glenwood South.

The party starts at 11 a.m. and they plan to serve $5 mimosas, bloody Marys and something called a "frose."

McLane said bars and restaurants on Glenwood South work to make the area a destination for customers. They said being able to serve alcohol during an entire brunch will do just that.

"Being able to sell alcohol before noon is going to really boost the street and bring people in earlier," McLane said.

The law got opposition from the Christian Action League, but supporters say it will help restaurants to better meet the expectations of their guests, particularly where tourism drives business.

Carrboro made a similar change to its ordinance Monday.

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