Without a doubt tough, times have hit the party zone known as Westport. Not even counting the obvious – Power & Light, Plaza, Martini Corner & Waldo – the once prosperous Westport is down, way down, but not totally out. And a drowning entertainment district will grab at whatever it can.
Most recently, “Liquor Control came out with a new law that gives catering permits to bars,” says Westport businessman Bill Nigro. “In the past, only restaurants could do it.”
The permits allow clubs to sell liquor in the great outdoors.
The person Nigro credits with the new life-saving law: Regulated Industries head Gary Majors.
“Gary Majors really went out of his way to help the bars,” Nigro says. “Here’s what prompted him to do it. This new state festival (law) is so difficult to put in place that he came up with a means for bars to get catering licenses to be outside so we could compete with the Power & Light District.
“You can’t really walk bar-to-bar but you can drink outside the bar (now). Under this ordinance, you have to get a daily permit to do it. So St. Patrick’s Day is going to be the first time the bars in Westport will be able to compete. And the timing is great with the economy down, the bad weather and all the competition. It’s only been in place five or six weeks.”
“It’ll especially be good for smokers, so it’s a big win for the nightclubs in Kansas City,” Nigro says. “And nobody asked (Majors) to do it. It’s just him seeing that the system was unfair and he went out of his way to do it.”
The early results look promising.
“The Dark Horse is going to be doing it,” Nigro says. “The Buzzard is going to be doing it. Kelly’s is going to do it.”