Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City Council delays ruling in Retreat bar's liquor fight with University of Tampa

TAMPA — At the request of attorneys representing the University of Tampa and owners of a nearby bar, the City Council delayed ruling Thursday on whether the Retreat can add liquor to its offerings.

Neither attorney would comment on the reason for the delay.

Mark Bentley, a lawyer representing the bar owner, said UT asked for a delay and he agreed.

Meanwhile, Bentley has filed a lawsuit saying the question shouldn't go to the council at all.

University officials want the bar to be prohibited from selling hard alcohol, saying it would make student drinking problems worse.

Bentley has relied on an obscure city ordinance and an old photograph to argue that the Retreat has a legal right to sell liquor.

Enacted in 1945 when the city adopted wet-zoning, the rule says any continuously operating business that had a state license to sell alcohol at that time could keep selling the types of drinks permitted by the license.

Under a variety of owners and names, the location has operated as a bar for decades, largely selling just beer and wine.

Bentley says he doesn't have the original Florida liquor license because the old records have been purged. But he does have a Burgert Brothers photo taken on Jan. 29, 1946, that shows liquor bottles, and the sworn testimony from customers, now in their 80s, who remember drinking cocktails in the bar.

That was enough for a city zoning administrator, who approved liquor sales in March 2008.

UT appealed to the city's Variance Review Board, which in December upheld the administrator's decision. The university is now appealing that ruling to the City Council.

Although Variance Review Board appeals typically go to the council, Bentley's lawsuit argues the case should not have gone to it, because according to city code it doesn't have jurisdiction over wet zonings.

The issue is set to go back to the City Council on April 16.

City Council delays ruling in Retreat bar's liquor fight with University of Tampa 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers, comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)