Bar and restaurant owners in Frisco say it's time to change the city's "old-fashioned" liquor laws, and NBC 5 discovered that some city council members are open to the idea.
Frisco is the fastest growing city in North Texas and the second-fastest growing city in the United States, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau. The population is fast closing in on 150,000 people. Yet bars must close at midnight every day of the week except for Saturday, when they can stay open until 1 a.m.
"When I tell them we close at midnight, they act like they've been transported back to the stone age," said Wild Pitch Sports Bar manager Robert Veric.
"We get a lot of sports fans. Business travelers who have late-night flights and want to watch the game. And the look on their face, it's just pure disbelief," he said.
Bars can stay open until 2 a.m. in the nearby cities of Plano and Dallas, and bar and restaurant owners in Frisco said they’re tired of losing business to places a mile down the highway.
"They can go just up the road to a sports bar and know they can stay until 2 in the morning, but here they'll have to stay until midnight. So we're not getting that late-night rush," Veric said.
The Dallas Cowboys practice facility and headquarters are moving to Frisco and will be completed in time for the 2016 football season, yet Veric says during West Coast games, he has to kick people out before the game is over.
"Every West Coast game that the Mavericks, Stars, and Rangers play, it doesn't start until 9. And if it's a long game, we're biting our nails," he said.
City Council member Bob Allen said he's "certainly open to the idea of a renewed dialogue" about changing the rule, especially in light of the Cowboys move and the business it's expected to bring.
He pointed out that voters rejected extended bar hours through a referendum six years ago, and there's no big push from his constituents to change the law now.
But Allen added, "I certainly understand where those owners are coming from. With all of our growth it's a discussion worth having again. There's no harm in a discussion."
Veric rejected arguments that people move to suburban Frisco to avoid a rowdy nightlife and late-night bar hours, saying North Texas is full of cities where establishments stay open the extra hour.
"Frisco is an island of 12 o'clock. If we were 100 miles away from the closest 2 o'clock. I'd have no complaint, but when you're two-and-a-half minutes away, there's something wrong. It's not competitive. The playing field is not even," said Veric.
A voter petition could bring the issue back on the ballot, or city council members could bring the topic back up for a vote.