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Published October 23, 2013, 10:27 PM

Fargo looking to add more liquor licenses

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Fargo is closer to having more liquor licenses for stand-alone bars available in the city.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Fargo is closer to having more liquor licenses for stand-alone bars available in the city.

The Liquor Control Board today voted to recommend the city approve three of these types of liquor licenses, though only one is currently available.

Plus, the city is looking to change how it determines when to add more.

This summer Mahoney's in downtown Fargo closed.

With their liquor license now up for grabs, three businesses want it - and all three may get one.

Bars looking to set up shop in Fargo may soon have more opportunities.

The city is looking at adding more to its 33 liquor licenses for stand-alone bars - those that don't have to meet a food sales percentage.

Mark Dudley: "there are enough bars in town. There are a whole bunch downtown here. So, we really don't need any more bars."

Mike Barre: "They've kept a tight lid on it, I think they could expand a little bit out. Things are growing, people are growing, there are more people downtown, so they could look at it again."

It started with a three-way fight for the liquor license formerly held by Mahoney's

Two proposed bars - Catherine's and the Pink Pussycat - along with existing bar and grill Labby's hope to get their hands on that license.

The Liquor Control Board voted to recommend the city approve all three.

Commissioner Brad Wimmer argues since one is an existing bar and one would replace Mahoney's, the city would only need to add one new liquor license to make that possible.

Wimmer: "In essence, we'd be selling three new licenses but only adding one new bar."

But they also hope to make in-depth changes to how the number of liquor licenses grows with the population.

Since 2005, the city adds a new city-owned "Z" liquor license for every ten thousand people, and right now, they go by U.S. Census data.

But that only happens every ten years, so the Board raised the idea to start using state or city population estimates instead.

Barre: "Big city, a lot of people in the metro area, it's growing, So, they can accommodate people. It's a business issue, too."

The approval of the three liquor licenses in question will be tackled at Monday's City Commission meeting.

The question of changing the numbers used to add more liquor licenses will likely be addressed further down the road.

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