ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The Grid Arcade in Pensacola is offering patrons a nostalgic experience with more than 30 old and retro arcade games.
However, owner Daniel Demeter had hoped to allow his patrons to consume alcohol in the bar, but was denied a beer and wine license due to the location.
“I’d like to add a lounge area and include draft beer and have seating around the bar,” Demeter said. “That would help a lot and make this business profitable.”
The Grid Arcade is licensed to sell packaged beer and wine, but according to city ordinances, alcohol cannot be consumed there because it is within 1,000 feet of a daycare or church.
After multiple surveys conducted by the district, the facility is only 85 feet from the required distance.
However, Demeter challenged the district’s accuracy at the appeals hearing, stating that the route they used to measure the distance to a nearby daycare was not a route a pedestrian would take. Both facilities are located on N Pace Blvd.
“As you heard in today’s testimony, the measurement was not challenged, and the way it was applied was fairly used across the county, to all the people in the county,” Assistant State’s Attorney Christi Hankins said at Thursday’s hearing. .
The Escambia County Board of Adjustment voted three to five in favor of the county, saying their measure was correct, denying Daniel’s appeal.
“It was really difficult to establish a path to succeed and get approved,” Demeter said. “I’ve offered various ways that I can comply with the current ordinance by moving my main entrance or changing the sidewalk in front, things like that, and all of that has been met with sharp rejections.”
Despite the current challenges, Demeter, who converted the former warehouse, said the support from the community has been incredibly positive. Demeter said he will move to the district court of appeals and continue to fight his case.
But if things don’t go his way, he might move.
“I guess we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and eventually, if I get enough coins together, we’ll move to another place and do it again there,” Demeter said.