The Laguna Art Walk is well known for its art displays, but over the past few years it has also been known for alcohol. A recent crackdown on this has left many gallery owners hurt and confused.
Complimentary beer and wine, usually less than an ounce per offering, has been available to adults who browse the galleries. Undercover police were among the walkers this year and cited five galleries and two other businesses for serving alcohol without a license. They also had an underage decoy with them to see if any business would try to serve alcohol to a minor.
The gallery owners believe that there was no warning given, though a few of the owners did receive a warning letter about displays on sidewalks, loud music, and intoxicated patrons. But there was no warning about licensing. There was also an earlier meeting held by the city council to discuss problems with the monthly event, but it was sparsely attended. This may be why it felt like there was no warning.
It is unknown just how intoxicated the patrons were getting from such small amounts of alcohol, but if they were getting small drinks at many galleries it could lead to public intoxication and potential DUI. This sudden crackdown will probably make businesses at the Art Walk much more circumspect about what they serve.
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