Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Heard on NRPAnet: Alcohol in Room Rentals

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Heard on NRPAnet: Alcohol in Room Rentals

Article excerpt

How has your policy about alcohol affected your rental revenues? That was a recent question on NRPA's list serv, NRPAnet. For information on how to join the discussion, select "NRPAnet" from the right-hand side of NRPA's Web site ( Here are sonic of the responses to the alcohol-policy query:

"We are a 'dry' town, so cannot allow it. However, in tracking bookings, what business we have 'lost' because of that limitation has been minimal. Too, we always booked the rooms with some other event anyway. We have no choice. If we did, we would pick up some events that would love to come hero--like the Ducks Unlimited Banquet--but we really wouldn't be gaming anything. Too, we would probably charge more because of the potential for damages, additional clean-up from smelly spills, etc."

"We started to allow alcohol about two years ago, and it did expand our market and facility use. We were concerned about any negative impact, so we created seine restrictions. We only wanted to attract family-oriented gatherings and not commercial events. We allow beer and wine, and only on weekends. We require a licensed bartender/server to ensure no one tinder age is served and no one is overserved. Alcohol must be served by the glass, and alcohol cannot be sold. No admission charges/fees/donations allowed. In addition to that, we double the refundable damage and clean-up deposit. We have had good success. There is a little extra clean up required--normally spills around the service area--but that has been about it."

"We do allow alcohol to be served at events in the recreation center (served, but not sold). For any party or reception, whether serving alcohol or not, the city requires the renter to pay a fee for liability insurance. This is a basic commercial general liability policy that covers the city. I think the city only makes 4 or 5 bucks per rental above what we have to pay out to the insurance company, so there is not any real profit with that. I do think that we would get far fewer requests for rentals if we did not allow alcohol, though. Most of the events in our main room are weddings, anniversary or birthday parties, and most of these serve alcohol, even if only champagne and beer. I think many would seek out another venue if we did not allow it. We always have at least one staff person present at every event.

In terms of damage, outside era couple of bad ones (maybe two or three to the past five years), we've been pretty lucky. Most groups are pretty mellow. The couple of times we've had damage have come from parties where the majority of attendees are younger and a little more rowdy. Our weekend staff is instructed to call the police department if things look like they are getting out of hand."

"We operate two facilities that have the option of having bar service for events hosted there. I think you have the potential to have bookings increase, and increase revenue through that method as well as beverage sales. There is no question that many events we book would do so elsewhere if we did not have liquor available. Check with your municipality, county and state regarding liquor license costs and policies, and your insurance people regarding what they would require."

"We have a community center and allow alcohol. We require liquor liability insurance, naming the city as additional insured. The police department will have a minimum of two Officers present the entire evening. …

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