ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The Grid Arcade in Pensacola offers patrons a nostalgic experience with over 30 vintage and retro arcade games.
However owner Daniel Demeter hoped to give his patrons the ability to consume alcohol on the premise, but was denied a beer and wine license because of its location.
“I’d like to add a lounging area and incorporate draft beer and have seating around the bar,” said Demeter. “It would help out a lot and make this business profitable.”
The Grid Arcade has license to sell packaged beer and wine, but per city ordinances, the alcohol cannot be consumed there because it falls within 1000 feet of a daycare or church.
After multiple surveys done by the county, the establishment falls just 85 feet short of the required distance.
However, Demeter challenged the county’s accuracy at an appeal hearing, stating the route they used to measure the distance to a nearby day care center on is not the route a pedestrian would take. Both establishments are located on N Pace Blvd.
“As you’ve heard in the testimony today, the measurement has not been challenged, and the way that it was applied has been fairly used throughout the county, to all people in the county,” said Assistant State Attorney Christi Hankins at Thursday’s hearing.
The Escambia County Board of Adjustment voted three to five in favor of the county, saying their measure was accurate, denying Daniel’s appeal.
“It’s been real difficult to establish a route to succeed and get approval,” said Demeter. “I’ve offered various ways that I can comply with the current ordinance by moving my main entrance, or changing my sidewalk out front, things of that nature, and all of it’s been met with harsh denials.”
Despite the current challenges, Demeter who converted the former warehouse, said the support from the community has been incredibly positive. Demeter said he will move forward to the circuit court of appeals and continue fighting his case.
But if things don’t work out in his favor, he may relocate.
“I guess we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and eventually if I save up enough coin, we’ll move into another place and deal with it again there,” said Demeter.