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How many bars are in downtown Wilmington?

Shannan Bowen

Special Agent Thomas Bissette, of the Alcohol Law Enforcement office in Wilmington, said there are 75 establishments with a mixed-beverage permit in the 28401 ZIP Code, which includes the downtown area of Wilmington. The permit allows those establishments to sell not only beer but liquor by the drink.

Not all of those establishments are bars that serve only alcohol.

Bissette said some of the 75 establishments he counted are restaurants.

He said a couple of places in the downtown area serve only beer, but those establishments do not need a mixed-beverage permit and aren’t counted in that total.

UPDATE: The answer above was posted in July 2010. An article published online on Aug. 26, 2014, said there were 44 bars in the central business district before the present policy restricting the growth of bars was enacted in 2010, and there are 31 of them now. This figure does not include hotels or restaurants that sell alcohol.


User-contributed question by:
Linda Burriss

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3 Responses to “ How many bars are in downtown Wilmington?”

  1. On July 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm andrew wrote:

    In addition to those restaurant are establishments that hold a mixed beverage license license for special events (wedding receptions, for example) and possible caterers located downtown. So therefore the total amount of “bars” would be less. What also would be helpful would be total of restaurants (information that could be found by contacting New Hanover County Health Department) and what area includes downtown (from what block to what block). I just found that this response is very one-sided to the view of “bars are saturating downtown and causing problems.” Not much research or for that matter information was placed in this response.

  2. On August 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm B. Williams wrote:

    The correct answer would be TOO MANY!!

  3. On February 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm Phelan Webb wrote:

    The beauty of downtown is also the ability of patrons to drink and enjoy the arts and history there. I think it’s great there is a lot of night life there..that is part of what makes downtown special. Most patrons do not want to pay for parking which in my opinion is why there is not more business there on a daily basis.

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