What’s the difference between a restaurant, bar, nightclub in Orlando? New zoning codes clarify

‘Everything we look at, we look at the safety aspect,’ Mayor Dyer said

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando city commissioners unanimously approved new zoning codes Monday that clarifies the definitions between a restaurant, a bar and a nightclub.

The new zoning measures apply for businesses citywide, not just downtown.

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The city says restaurants are places with more than 50% of food with tables and chairs. Bars can serve less than 50% of food and nightclubs across the city are places with entertainment or a DJ after midnight.

“Prior to todays action, they were all treated exactly the same, so now if we do pass additional measures we can pass them either for restuarant or for bars or for nightclubs or for all three,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

Mayor Dyer said they also amended language in these definitions now allowing restaurants to set age restrictions.

Monica Mccown owns Artisan’s table in downtown Orlando and was in favor of amending the language.

“There are a lot of good reasons for restuarants who wants to close to certain ages. Maybe they want to close to kids to have a better dining experience, or they don’t have a lot of space, or they want to have an entertainers that 18 and up,” Monica McCown said.

Chris Grey is a manger at Harp and Celt in downtown Orlando. He said he was happy to hear on Monday that Orlando city commissioners discussed and approved better clarifying different establishments across the city.

“When people come downtown to enjoy themselves, the club atmosphere should be the club atmosphere, the restaurants should be the restaurants,” Grey said.

These measures all coming after a shooting near Wall Street and Orange Avenue back in July that police say hurt seven people.

Following the shooting, the mayor put in place access checkpoints on Friday and Saturday evenings in downtown Orlando, including a weapons check.

Commissioners also approved an ordinance that included a special use permit for new downtown businesses or a change of ownership for establishments open after at midnight.

“Everything we look at, we look at the safety aspect,” Mayor Dyer said.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.