As of yesterday, December 1, the consumption of alcohol is no longer allowed on any unenclosed vehicles in Nashville. And yes, that includes the party tractor, party pontoon boat, party fire truck, and the rest of the flock of woo-girl-filled, road-congesting party buses (AKA “transpotainment” vehicles) that crawl downtown Nashville streets day and night on weekends.
Metro Nashville City Council’s rush to ban alcohol came quickly in October after a Michigan man was hospitalized after being run over after falling off a moving party bus, and after some debate, the bill passed the city council 33-3. The bill adds new restrictions on the transpotainment industry, alongside new licensing and insurance provisions. Pedal taverns, however, are not affected by the ban.
Metro Nashville Police issued a release reminding operators of the ban and said they’ll be stationed at party bus pick-up locations to reinforce the rule with passengers, as well as monitoring compliance throughout downtown.
Many Nashville locals and business owners rejoiced with the Metro Nashville decision to ban alcohol on the downtown fleet of drunken tourist wagons, but with the wrist-slap of minimal ($50) fines, does this really solve the problem?
Chances of stopping the clogged streets seem low, as Upstage Party Bus owner Patrick Kludac quickly posted on the Upstage Party Bus Facebook page that he plans to enclose his bus with a “seamless”, see-through polycarbonate material that he claims is 30-times stronger than the plexiglass the city mandated in the bill.
“We are running with alcohol! So I’m sure a lot of you have heard that an alcohol ban went in effect today. The law states that no alcohol can be consumed on an open-air party bus. Well did you really think Nashville’s best party bus would close its doors? Absolutely not!” says the post on Upstage Party’s social media.
There’s minimal downtime for Upstage’s bus, as Kludac notes that the enclosed bus should be ready to roll this weekend. Kludas also adds that a bill allows them to qualify for alcohol permits, and that they hope to be back to open-air street crawling by the spring. Upstage is also launching a new bus “Miss Avery Grace” to the fleet this spring — one that will further please the cowboy boot-clad bachelorette swarm by doing mural tours.
Councilman Freddie O’Connell, who sponsored the original bill, has since introduced the follow-up bill laying out a permitting process that would allow riders to BYOB or allow for service and sales onboard the buses, so stay tuned for further updates.