Closing time: Daytona Beach bars will now have to close an hour earlier

The Daytona Beach City Commission narrowly voted to force bars to close at 2 a.m. instead of 3 a.m. Wednesday night.

The rule change goes into effect on June 1, and will not apply to certain busy tourist times like the city's upcoming bike week.

The commission has debated the change for about 12 years according to the mayor.

Before the vote, the commission heard horror stories from residents who complain of fights, noise, and trash.

"I’ve seen group fights at three in the morning running up and down Wild Holly," said Steven Barnes. "I've seen countless car wrecks. 

Bar owners at the meeting argued closing earlier will hurt their employees.

Some city commissioners backing them up.

"I support businesses," said Stacy Cantu, Zone 4's commissioner. "I do not like restricting businesses."

Froggy's Saloon on Main Street stays open till 3 a.m. and says bartenders can make hundreds of dollars in that final hour.

"That’s money they’re counting on," said Robert Honeycutt, the bar's owner. "We just went through COVID-19 and everybody’s hurting and now they’re taking away more income by shutting us down early. I don’t think they’re thinking about the citizens here and people who are employed."

Most of the complaints were focused on the Seabreeze area.

The commission also heard from Daytona Beach's police chief Jakari Young who says they're working on building a substation there to focus on curbing that late night crime.

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