Downtown Bars Fight Criticism with New Group

Wilmington, NC – The group says its first priority is cleanliness - finding ways to deal with the empty beer bottles, cigarette butts, and worse that often litter downtown on weekend mornings.

They're also talking with Wilmington police about better controlling rowdy patrons by offering classes to bar employees to better recognize fake IDs and intoxicated people.

Ian Mosely, a part-owner of two downtown bars, helped form the group and says even those establishments that don't join will eventually have to change their ways.

"We're not going to be able to do anything, but they'll find Jesus quick enough when the city tries to tell them to get their front cleaned and they're getting fined," Mosley said, "Or they lose their alcohol license because they're over-serving and things like that."

But Mosely adds that the downtown scene has some inherent tensions - this is town, in his observation, where revelers often drink until closing and range from Marines to college students to recent immigrants.

"You throw that all out in the street at 2:30 in the morning," Mosely says, "and they don't have to get along, I guess. And they don't all get along. I wish they would, but somebody bumps into somebody who isn't in their little clique I guess you would say, then words can get said."

Mosely says nearly half the bars and restaurants downtown have already expressed interest in joining the business association, which will have its first formal meeting next month.