Nacogdoches business leaders hope to do away with Prohibition-er - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches business leaders hope to do away with Prohibition-era rule

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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

The Nacogdoches Restaurant and Bar Association says it's high time a Prohibition-era ordinance is off the books in the oldest town in Texas. Members and a whole lot of patrons want to eliminate the need for customers to join a club before having a drink at restaurants or bars.

A petition is asking for a local option election.

The move to do away with the club membership ordinance has received the endorsement of the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce.

Petitions can be found at Hotel Fredonia, Casa Tomas, and Shelley's Bakery. The petition has to be turned in by August 2nd.

In Nacogdoches, you can buy beer or wine at the local pharmacy, but when you want a drink in a restaurant or bar, you're required to join a club.

"This is a paperwork law," said Jessica Drahem of the Nacogdoches Restaurant and Bar Association.

So says the Nacogdoches Restaurant and Bar Association and its members.

"You have to have two separate bank accounts on top of your operating bank account," said Susan Pack Reents with Fredonia Hotel. "You have to separate 70/30. You can only pay for your liquor out of one account. Then you pay your taxes and your labor out of another. It's really a bookkeeping nightmare."

That can only go away if a local option election passes to do away with the law.  But first, enough signatures must be gathered on the election petition.

"It has to be a certain percentage of voters that voted in the last election and in this case it's 1,890," Drahem said.

 Petition organizers are confident they'll get the signatures and pass the election. After all, Nacogdoches is one of only nine Texas cities that still has the law on the books.

"Tyler has voted it out. Lufkin, Dallas, Houston, all over," Reents said.

And when they order a drink at a Nacogdoches restaurant, the reaction for their driver's license is predictable.

"Our out of town people, it really blows their minds, Reents said.

No restaurants are currently charging customers a club membership fee. Instead, owners absorb the extra fees, which creates an economic development issue. New businesses just don't like the hassle. An election will determine if residents feel the same way.

The move to do away with the club membership law has received the endorsement of the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce.

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