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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Miami Beach’s mayor wants to limit liquor sales after 2 a.m. along the iconic Ocean Drive strip.
The proposal named the Ocean Drive Initiative is meant to curb crime in the strip which Mayor Philip Levine says is now plagued with prostitution, drug dealing and muggings among other things.
“What started out as an iconic street, Art Deco, it was a place where the whole world came to film and Gianni Versace was there, there were model shoots has now become an area of prostitution, an area of drug dealing, an area of petty crimes,” said Levine told CBS4’s Ted Scouten.
Levine said he will introduce the proposal at a city commission meeting on Wednesday.
The proposal – Levine says – takes aim at the root of the problem by limiting liquor sales after 2 a.m. along Ocean Drive and only at bars that are not part of a hotel. That’s about four or five places including the world-famous Mango’s.
Joshua Wallack and his dad own Mango’s. They’ve been there for years and are baffled and blindsided by the mayor’s plan to make them shut down at 2 a.m.
“This has a cataclysmic ripple effect, a house of cards you might say,” said Jason. “I think this type of move is very dangerous to do. Especially with Miami Beach’s brand as a nightlife destination around the world. People are coming from Europe, from everywhere else to enjoy our wonderful night life.”
The mayor agrees there is damage to the Miami Beach brand but for a different reason.
“The city is jeopardizing its entire brand based on the actions of what’s happening on Ocean Drive for four or five bars. I think it’s a bad business proposition,” said Levine.
The mayor says he has no plans to stop the party – just move it.
“I think we need to close these freestanding bars and clubs there,” said Levine. “If people want to continue on, go to Washington Ave, go to a big night club that’s open until 5 a.m.,” said Levine.