Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What I Learned About Liquor Licenses

As I've mentioned before, there is a turmoil going on right now over the revocation of some liquor licenses here. Rumors are running faster than a brook after a rain. I'm not even going to repeat them because I don't want the waters to get any murkier. (gee, can I insert one more water analogy or what!)

I spoke to the President of the Union of Restaurant and Bar owners about this issue. Here's what he told me:

1. The former Mayor had entered into an agreement with the local distributors that allowed them to purchase multiple liquor licenses in their name and in return "rent" them to various establishments. (this was a way to ensure that the business only did business with that distributor also)

2. The current Mayor has declared these agreements illegal. Each business shall be the owner of their own license.

3. The cost of the new license is $15,000 USD.

End of discussion.

Simple really. If you aren't in on a deal, nip it in the bud and set up your own way to get money into your coffer. A lot of businesses were caught in merde creek without a paddle. Many of the little stores in the colonia area were forced to stop selling beer. Their moneymaker. I know for sure that it affected Ronco and the one right down the street from me. (even though I still heard the familiar clank of bottle against bottle inside the plastic bags they carried past)

Evidently some kind of deal has been struck. The President failed to fill me in on any of those details. I don't know this for a fact, but a lot of previously shut down places have suddenly reopened over night, selling alcohol again! I just scratch my head wondering where these Mom and Pop stores got 150,000 pesos together to buy a license. I think a big part of this story is missing and we will never know what it is.

It has now gotten to the point that it is easier to tell which places still do not have a license, as of last Saturday night. Here's the list:


La Marquesita - closed

San Cocho

Pizza Rock


Bamboo Too - closed


Brenda said...

What a ridiculous price to set. For some reason the mayor obviously doesn't want lots of them selling beer. Why is that?

Cee said...

Can folx BYOB to places that serve food but not alcohol?

Loretta said...

Sounds nearly as indecipherable as Florida zoning laws!

Mike and I watched Dolly as it passed over you. Our thoughts were with you and yours. We were happy at the lack of news coverage from the area since the networks only report the bad and the ugly.

Mike and I are already dreaming of going back to Isla...

Anonymous said...

Wow! Three of the five are on my favorites list. Since I don't drink alcohol, I won't be missing anything but I wonder how they will be able to stay in business without the liquor licenses. Island Nana

islagringo said...

Brenda: if I knew the answer to that, I could probably win the lottery! My guess is that she wanted to force them into doing business with her, i.e. paying her regime for the license.

cee: not sure about that. I know that Komono is selling beer but you have to drink it out of a red plastic cup. Like who do they think they are fooling? I'm sure Fredy would let you bring your own.

Loretta: thanks for thinking of us! It was an awful period. Monday was actually worse than Sunday! Massive flooding everywhere on the island. You know you are always welcome anytime you want to come back!

Nana: good question. A couple of the ones on the list were just hanging on by their fingernails as it was.

jeanie said...

We used to really enjoy BYOB years ago. When Bistro Francais opened and for quite a while they didn't have booze but you were welcome to bring your own. We would grab a wine in the afternoon and Victor would have it chilled and waiting for us. Ah the good old days jeje

Anonymous said...

My October trip right before Wilma 2005 Fredy didn’t have a liquor license and he sent us to the store to purchase our own wine which he opened and we used his wine glasses and ice bucket. But that was a different administration so may be different rules this time around.

Kelly said...


When you mentioned "Ronco and the one right down the street from me"
Do you mean the tienda directly next door to my casa?


islagringo said...

jeanie: i forgot about that. Back in the days when they were the only ones to have a gas grill. And they cooked on the street. Ah, memories!

jackie: yes, a totally different administration. Or dictatorship.

kelly: yes, that one. The one where you have to run the clothesline gamut to get to the window!