Fort Lauderdale may lift booze ban on sand for hotel guests

FORT LAUDERDALE — For nearly four decades, Fort Lauderdale has had a ban on booze at the beach — the sandy section, anyway. But there’s now talk of allowing alcohol sales on the sand year-round.

Not everyone would by allowed to sip cocktails by the sea.

To indulge your guilty pleasure, you’d need to be a hotel guest or rent a beach lounge chair.

Hotels alone — no bars, no restaurants — would be allowed to sell all those chardonnays and pina coladas, from Bahia Mar south of Las Olas all the way to Sunrise Boulevard. Customers would also be able to order food from the hotel menu and have it delivered directly to their lounge chair.

Hotels along A1A are pushing the plan, but some locals think it’s a bad idea.

“Most people won’t drink just one drink — they’ll drink two, three or four,” said Warren Sackler, a resident who lives a block from the beach. “There’s definitely going to be more drama if you let people drink on the beach. The police don’t like babysitting and they are going to have to deal with this.”

Once upon a time, during the raunchy heydays of Spring Break, Fort Lauderdale allowed the sale of booze on the beach.

That ended 37 years ago, when city leaders banned alcoholic drinks on the beach, hoping to attract a more well-heeled clientele.

Today, fines range from $50 (for first-time offenders) to $500 (for repeat offenders) if you get caught with a cold one on the sand.

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