West Hartford Diners Could Get Curfew Extension

Right now, diners must go inside after they finish eating.

Customers of West Hartford restaurants might be able to dine outside past 10 p.m.

The town council is proposing an extension to the outdoor dining curfew that would allow restaurants to keep their patios open until midnight, the Hartford Courant reports.

The current ordinance does not allow the restaurants to serve customers after 10 p.m., but they can stay outside as long as it takes to finish eating.

Rob Rowlson, the town’s community services director told the Courant that the proposal would force customers to move inside at midnight, even if they have not finished eating.

Police started to strictly enforce the 10 p.m. dining curfew last year in response to resident complaints about a noisy downtown area.

Rowlson said that the noise might not be a result of outdoor dining, but the newer, stricter, curfew would help determine who is lingering after hours.

Gregory Tousignant, general manager of Grants Restaurant on Farmington Avenue, told the Courant that he supports the later curfew, but questions the idea of making customers take their food inside when the clock strikes midnight.

“It’s hard to tell guests to pick up their plates and move,” he said. “We’re not doing cafeteria-style dining.”

If the curfew is extended, restaurants would not be able to sell alcohol by the bottle, or impose entry barriers like a cover charge. Restaurants that serve alcohol would have to reapply for their special use permits.

A public hearing will be held on April 11 at 7 p.m. at town hall, 50 S. Main St.

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