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Wine may flow Underground



Considering its attempts to close down 24-hour clubs and its general reluctance to do away with anachronistic Sunday blue laws, Atlanta City Council hasn't exactly been the favorite of revelry-seekers the last few years.

But on Monday, July 21, the council agreed to allow alcohol in areas in and around Underground Atlanta. The law, which still awaits Mayor Shirley Franklin's signature before going into effect, is designed to pump up the sagging shopping area. It would allow Underground patrons to carry open containers of alcohol within the Kenny's Alley portion of the shopping mall, as well as "portions of Upper Alabama Street within Underground ... which lie between Central Avenue and Pryor Street and between Pryor Street and Peachtree Street."

There are, of course, still questions if the areas around Upper Alabama are secure enough to mix shoppers and beer and street life.

"My argument there is that four, five, six times a year, Underground Atlanta already does exactly what [the legislation asks] for, and so if we believe their security plan is good enough on those occasions, which are occasions that are much more volume intense, then one has to believe that they know how to handle your average weekend night," says Councilman H. Lamar Willis, who co-sponsored the bill along with Councilwoman Debi Starnes.

He points out that Underground's proprietors would have to choose if or when they wanted to implement the new law.

Underground's management, headed by general manager Chick Ciccaglione, is optimistic the plan can work. "Our goal is to be the premiere retail/entertainment destination in the entire Southeast," Ciccaglione says. "We need to take the entertainment to a higher level."

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