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January 26, 2023 City Council Regular Meeting
9. Adoption of an Ordinance to Amend Division II, Part 6, Chapter 1, Article H, Alcoholic Beverages, to Address Recent State Law Changes, Clarify Certain Provisions of the Current Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance, and Create New Administrative Provisions Related to Licensing and Ordinance Enforcement.
Strategic Priority
Good Government

Amendments to the Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance are designed to strengthen the City's licensing and enforcement processes and bring local Ordinance in conformance with State Law. The proposed changes address the following:


  • Distilled Spirits with Takeout Meal: Aligns City Ordinance with recent changes to State Law, which allow restaurants to sell properly contained liquor drinks with a takeout meal.
  • Alcoholic Beverage Tastings: Aligns City Ordinance with recent changes to State Law, which allow package stores and grocery stores to hold alcoholic beverage tasting events. The ordinance limits the size of the pours and the duration of the events.
  • Home Delivery of Alcohol: Following public input, it is recommended that City Council prohibits the home delivery of alcohol and not align City Ordinance with recent State Law changes that allow home delivery of alcoholic beverages.
  • BYOB Ordinance: Clarifies that customers are only allowed to bring and consume their own alcoholic beverage at an establishment if that establishment already has a consumption on premises alcoholic beverage license.
  • Selling alcoholic beverages through windows and doors: No establishment may sell alcoholic beverages through windows or doors onto the public rights of way.
  • Alcohol Review Committee: Creation of a multi-disciplinary committee to streamline and improve the efficiency of the alcoholic beverage license application process.
  • Alcoholic Beverage Compliance (ABC) Unit Administrative Meetings: Require a license holder to attend a scheduled ABC administrative meeting after a violation occurs. Failure to attend could result in subpoena issued to appear in Recorder’s Court.
  • Armed Security Guards: Require an establishment’s armed security guards to undergo background checks through the Savannah Police Department.
  • Alcohol License Waiting Periods: Impose mandatory waiting periods for establishments to apply for a new alcohol license after a license has been revoked or after City Council denies a license at that establishment.
  • Transitional License: Establish requirements for alcohol-serving establishments that functionally transition from restaurants to bars, including ceasing food sales or charging entry fees, primarily late at night.
  • Server Training Permit Card: Require servers of alcoholic beverages to obtain a server training permit card from the City of Savannah.  


Judee Jones, Manager, Revenue
Financial Impact
Review Comments
Exhibit 1: Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance Revisions.pdf
Exhibit 2: Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance Amendments.pdf
Agenda Plus