Seaside Park to ring last call bell 2 hours earlier

A sobering new drinking law in Seaside Park has stirred revolution among alcohol merchants.

The borough council passed a law Wednesday forcing any business with a liquor license to close at midnight. The legislation passed despite facing strong opposition.

A frustrated fringe of business owners have now retained a lawyer in the hopes of seceding from the borough and becoming part of Seaside Heights.

Steve D'Onofrio, owner of the Sawmill Café, expects his business to lose $500,000 in sales each year by having to close at midnight instead of 2 a.m. Employees also expect to be hit hard in the wallet. Bartender Lauren Olivier says she's now likely to lose about $200 a week in tips.

Seaside Park Mayor Thomas E. Connors believes tightening alcohol restrictions is in the borough's best interest.

Even business owners that don't serve alcohol believe the new policy could still dry up their sales. Many who run shops on the boardwalk say they fear crowds will reroute their late-night plans to Seaside Heights in order to party later.

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