Orlando City Commission has passed a new ordinance that will help city staff clarify what exactly defines a bar, restaurant, or nightclub as part of their ongoing struggle to regulate and control downtown nightlife.

The move is part of the mayor’s office post-pandemic crusade to shift the landscape in Orlando’s downtown core away from the clubs and nightlife of the past few decades and towards a more family-friendly neighborhood-style district. One with more retail, more public parks, wider sidewalks, and hopefully, less crime.

We first told you about Ordinance No. 2022-68 HERE in October when we shared a list of proposed regulations for late-night uses in the Downtown Entertainment District. Under the new definitions, bars are establishments that make less than 50 percent of their income from food sales and live entertainment ends at midnight. A nightclub is an establishment with a dance floor or offers entertainment and DJs after midnight. Prior to this ordinance, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs were all treated the same by City Hall, and now they can further restrict where some of these businesses can open as the downtown continues to grow.

The new definitions will allegedly help the Zoning Department to categorize new businesses that serve alcoholic beverages prior to granting approval for state alcohol licenses and help discern which permits should be applied based on the building’s occupancy.

More changes in the way the City treats nighttime economy in downtown Orlando are certain to come in 2023.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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