Beaufort News

Port Royal considers making last call earlier at restaurants, bars

  • Last call for alcohol could be coming two or more hours earlier at Port Royal bars and restaurants.
  • At a Port Royal Town Council meeting Wednesday, police Capt. Alan Beach said the department thinks cutting off alcohol sales no later than 2 a.m. -- rather than 4 a.m. as is currently permitted -- could help address a recent rise in incidents at one particular bar and restaurant on Ribaut Road.

    Calls for service stemming from activity at Cowboys & Indians appear to have risen in the last two or three months, Beach said.

    An owner of Cowboys & Indians could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

    Reports range from assault and battery, theft, illegal parking and excessive noise to other nuisances, Beach said, with a majority of those calls coming after midnight.

    Beach carried with him a stack of reports, one of them concerning a Jan. 15 incident in which police responded to reports of a fight in progress at 3:53 a.m.

    According to the report, an unidentified suspect got into a fight with one of the business' bouncers.

    Several of the suspect's friends then got involved, and the argument escalated into a "20 to 3" brawl, a witness told police.

    As the officer arrived, he saw "a large amount" of people running in the parking lot and heard four gunshots.

    The City of Beaufort Police Department and Beaufort County Sheriff's Department helped set up a perimeter, but a suspect was not located.

    No one was injured from the gunshots, according to the report.

    The restaurant and bar, that sits near the intersection of Ribaut Road and Sutcliffe Drive, can hold more than 300 people, Beach said, and its customers sometimes park illegally at nearby businesses.

    "If we cut back the time to 2 a.m. ... I think that's going to slow it down somewhat," Beach said.

    Business owners Hina and Atul Patel, who own a Super 8 hotel that sits across Ribaut Road from the bar, told council members the nuisances are "getting to be too much."

    "We don't want our guests to feel unsafe," Hina Patel said.

    Mayor Sam Murray told her "relief is on the way."

    Other council members also appeared to support an earlier last call.

    "We've got to make some changes," Councilwoman Beth Heyward said.

    Councilman Vernon DeLoach added that he thought the cut-off should be even earlier, suggesting midnight.

    Council will likely bring the issue up for a first reading at its regular meeting next month, town manager Van Willis said.