Ocean City, N.J. may get to vote on BYOB option

The idea of allowing restaurants in dry Ocean City, N.J., to go BYOB may be put to a referendum in November.

A petition in favor of a BYOB referendum has been delivered to the Ocean City clerk. Supporters say it has 100 more signatures than the minimum needed to trigger a vote. The petition favors giving diners in the popular, but alcohol-free Shore town the option to bring wine and beer to enjoy with their meals.


Bill McGinnity, a restaurant owner in town and vice president of the Ocean City Restaurant Association, said supporters of the BYOB idea aren’t looking to sully the town’s family image.

He points out that liquor does find its way into Ocean City’s private homes anyway.

“We do not cross a border and they take the alcohol out of our cars,” he said. “Alcohol is here already.”

McGinnity said supporters want to make the change respectfully.

“We want never ever want to lose the dry-town distinction Ocean City has. With BYOB, (it’s) still a dry town.”

Opponents include Mayor Jay Gillian and the city council, which passed a resolution in June opposing the proposal. If the signatures are verified, only voters who have their primary residence in the Shore town will be able to cast a ballot on the issue in November.

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