The Round Rock City Council voted 6-1 on Thursday, Dec. 6, to approve an ordinance to extend serving hours to 2 a.m. for all restaurants and bars in the city limits. A second and final reading on the ordinance is expected Dec. 20.
Currently, only bars and restaurants located in Travis County inside Round Rock’s city limits can serve alcohol until 2 a.m. Bars and restaurants inside the city limits within Williamson County can serve until midnight Sunday through Friday, and until 1 a.m. on Saturday. Round Rock voters overwhelmingly approved the local option change during the Nov. 6 election, with 81 percent voting in favor of allowing the sale of all alcoholic beverages in restaurants and bars across the City. Prior to the election, bars and restaurants in a portion of southeast Round Rock were only permitted to sell beer and wine.
“The City Council considered bringing the extended hours measure forward in the spring, but the local option election gave us the ability to gauge the sentiment of our community on that issue,” Mayor Craig Morgan said. “A majority of voters believed the same rules should apply to alcohol sales regardless of where a restaurant or bar is located in Round Rock.
“To me, it’s a fairness issue. I believe there should be a level playing field for Round Rock bars and restaurants, regardless if they’re in Williamson County or Travis County.”
Three other cities in Williamson County – Cedar Park, Leander and Taylor – permit restaurants and bars to serve alcohol past midnight. Like Round Rock, portions of Cedar Park and Leander are in Travis County.
In response to citizen comments about the potential of extended hours to exacerbate the issue of noise from music at bars downtown, Mayor Morgan directed the City Manager to bring the City Council recommendations for addressing those concerns by its first meeting in January 2019, including stricter penalties for violations.