Round Rock City Council voted 5-1 on Dec. 6 to extend alcohol serving hours for bars and restaurants in the city. A second and final vote will take place at City Council’s next meeting scheduled to take place Dec. 20.
Council Member Hilda Montgomery was the only member of City Council to vote in opposition to the change.
If approved the ordinance change will allow bars and restaurants within Round Rock city limits to serve alcohol until 2 a.m.
The vote came after several downtown residents spoke in opposition to the change, citing noise concerns in the downtown area. In response Mayor Craig Morgan asked city staff to look at the noise ordinance and community feedback and come back with recommendations for improvements by Council’s first meeting in January.
Morgan and members of City Council pointed out the noise concerns and the alcohol serving hours are two separate issues, and the serving hours would impact businesses across the city, not only downtown.
“This impacts hotels that are down I-35, this impacts restaurants down I-35, and this impacts other areas that are on the east side of Round Rock,” Morgan said.
“We have the greatest opportunity to create a sense of place so that people want to be in our community and come to our community,” Morgan said. “Places all across the country have found that balance, and we are going to find that balance.”
Bars and restaurants are currently only permitted to serve alcohol until midnight Sunday through Friday and until 1 a.m. on Saturday with the exception of businesses within Travis County, which are already permitted to serve alcohol until 2 a.m.
If the hours are extended businesses opting to take advantage of the extended hours will have to get clearance from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission before they are permitted to do so.
Round Rock voters Nov. 6 approved a local option election to allow all bars and restaurants within the city to serve liquor. The initiative was approved by 81 percent of the total votes.