Give patrons a choice

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To the Editor:

A Yes vote on Question 1 will preserve the quaint character of Tisbury. It will lead to a seamless transition, as restaurants are already required to have locations for alcoholic beverages, and staffs are already TIPS trained. No large outlays will be required to offer spirits in addition to beer and wine — the heavy lifting was done six years ago. This is not a vote to introduce bars into town, this is a vote adding a third beverage option with your food. All existing regulations remain intact.

After six years and zero alcohol-related incident due to the beer and wine vote, the guests, visitors, and Tisbury establishments have earned the right, through flawless management and behavior, to return before the town, asking you to decide if it’s OK for diners to have a vodka soda with their food instead of just a glass of wine or beer. This is the only modification.

Tisbury will not change negatively from this vote, as its character and demeanor will remain constant, just as it did after the last, much more controversial, beer and wine change. “More law enforcement will be needed,” they said; “higher taxes, danger for our children, soon we will have bars and turn into Oak Bluffs or Edgartown! EEEEK!” All proven false. People are not stumbling in the streets like we were told. Maybe the opposite. Many think the town enjoys less drinking now that BYOB has been so greatly reduced and drinking is more regulated. And now they try to scare us again … But we know better: that Tisbury will continue to enjoy a safe and hospitable environment for its citizens, visitors, and youth.

A vodka soda with lunch or dinner will not turn Tisbury into a bar town — not only must you order food to receive a drink, but there is no alcohol service allowed after 11 pm, which is when it “turns” in the other towns and becomes more of an adult setting. Not in Tisbury — by law it cannot. Even with a gin and tonic available, the town will roll up shop by 11 pm, generally much earlier, and anybody who thinks a bar could ever survive in Tisbury hasn’t spent a night downtown in a very, very long time … maybe ever.

Adults deserve a choice. Beer, wine, and cocktails all have the same amount of alcohol. From an alcohol-consumption perspective, they are the same. Why tell our Tisbury residents and visitors they aren’t adult enough to handle the choice? Why send hundreds and thousands of people to other towns, to shop in other stores, to pay meal, beverage, and sales taxes elsewhere? An entire community benefits from a Yes vote on Question 1, and the visitors arriving in our amazing Island port town don’t have to be told no — that you are adult enough to order a beer or wine, but with a margarita you will become a problem, even though for six years you proved flawlessly that alcohol would not hurt the town, and only attract new business.

Please vote Yes on Question 1. Almost 70 percent of town meeting said Yes! This won’t be the miracle cure, but it will be another small step in the process of revitalizing Tisbury while maintaining its charm and class, and making it a competitive choice when Islanders and visitors alike decide where to go to eat. Yes on Question 1 — for the spirit of Tisbury.

J.B. Blau
Oak Bluffs

Among Mr. Blau’s Island restaurants is the Copper Wok in Tisbury.  —Ed.