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City of Decatur wants to draw in more millennials by changing the night life

City officials believe if they bring in more bars and lounges, the younger crowd would want to stay in the city to have fun at night.

Posted: Feb. 26, 2018 6:27 PM
Updated: Feb. 26, 2018 8:08 PM

The city of Decatur is thinking of ways to bring and keep millennials in the area when it comes to improving the night life, especially in downtown Decatur.

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First, the city will have to change the food-alcohol ratio. Currently restaurants will have to make 60% of their revenue from food and 40% from alcohol.

"Some people like to go out and have dinner and then relax with music. We don't really have that in Decatur," said Scott Bryant who owns Bank Street Grill.

Scott Bryant who owns Bank Street Grill wishes there were more venues and clubs that only serve alcohol. He believes this could draw in the younger crowd.

"Then they wouldn't have to come from Huntsville and Madison and that'll keep from doing that. It's a long drive and you don't want to drink and drive. Especialy with all the distance on the way back," Bryant said.

WAAY 31 spoke with city planner Karen Smith who said, she and the city's young professionals group are thinking of ways to give millennials a night life they can enjoy. If they change the food and alcohol ratio to a 50:50 rather than 60:40. It'll be easier to recruit more bars to the area.

Ryan Helsley owns Moe's original BBQ and Mellow Mushroom. He likes the character and charm of downtown Decatur and doesn't want to see it change.

"We don't necessarily have to have a bar and night club on every street corner but we need some variety. Some need to come out and dine and go out later and have a cocktail," said Ryan Helsley.

Smith said, brew pubs are now allowed to open downtown. However, the alcohol rules for the resteraunts being 500 feet from a school or church would not change if more bars and lounges move to downtown Decatur.

Until that happens, other people said there are still thins to do for the younger generation.

"Starting in April, the third Friday of each month, they close down the streets and it's a block party. With different bands, vendors, food and alcohol. It's a good combination," said Jason Sharp

Karen Smith said in the meantime, she'll continue the research to see if allowing more bars to open is a good idea.

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