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Provisional liquor license program for restaurants approved in 3 council districts

Provisional liquor license program approved in 3 city council districts
Provisional liquor license program approved in 3 city council districts 03:05

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a new restaurant beverage program in three council districts that will allow restauranteurs to get a full liquor license in a matter of weeks. 

Known for its Argentinian flavors and wines to match, the bar at Bodega Malbec in Toluca Lake has mostly been used for food since liquor is not allowed here. 

"We've always wanted here, but it's been really,'s a process," said the restaurant's owner, Javier Pardini.

Pardini opened the restaurant more than a decade ago, but has yet to get a liquor license, but the city's new policy has him ready for happy hour. 


"I'm delighted to have something like this that is going to make it easier. It'll be great to have a small bar with full liquor," he said. 

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who has been working to get provisional permits for years, said there are a list of conditions that restaurants would have to agree to in order to get over-the-counter approval. 

"Restaurants have struggled so much. It's really important to get more vibrancy into the restaurant industry here in Los Angeles," the councilman said. 

Under the new policy, if a restaurant seats between 10 and 150 people, agrees to not have live music, outdoor television monitors or serve after 11 p.m., they can get a license without the usual steps that can take months and sometimes cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

"The truth is there are too many overlapping permitting requirements that handcuff entrepreneurs trying to get a business up and running," Krekorian said. 

Opponents of the provisional permits, however, fear it's a slippery slope. 

"It takes the public comment part out of the process and doesn't enable people, like in local areas or communities to speak on behalf of what kind of establishments they would want in their neighborhood," Raul Verdugo, with the Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Alliance, said. 

In fact, the LA Drug and Alcohol Alliance fought against the new beverage program. 

"When you have a large concentration of alcohol outlets, you're going to have a higher proportion of criminal activity taking place," Verdugo said. 

Restaurant owners, on the other hand, said they just want a chance to compete. 

"It's a compliment to the dinner experience," Pardini said. 

It would also, of course, bring in cash, which would finally give the industry something to toast to. 

"This would really, really help out to come back from the sinkhole that we went through," Pardini added. 

As of now, the provisional liquor license for restaurants is only available in Districts 2, 4 and 15, but four more council districts are voting whether to opt in to the program on Friday.

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