The booze is flowing heavier at Dublin’s Sports Grill, now that it has a license to sell hard alcohol in addition to beer and wine.

The Dept. of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) originally rejected owner Riccardo Fundament’s application for a Type 47 liquor license to replace his currently held Type 41 beer and wine license Dec. 11, 2003. On Aug. 8, 2004, the ABC issued the license with a set of conditions to be met. These conditions include no exterior advertisements promoting alcohol, no “happy hour” discounts on hard alcohol, no admission charge and full meal service.

“[The conditions] were tough, but I thought they were fair,” Fundament said. “I’m OK with it because those are the same conditions The Study Hall has on their license.”

Although Dublin’s, located on the corner of Pardall and Embarcadero Del Norte, did not receive its permanent license until Oct. 20, Fundament began serving hard alcohol Sept. 3 under an interim retail permit.

“I really feel like this is the grand opening of the place,” Fundament said. “This is what I’ve dreamed of all my life.”

Ed Macias of the Santa Barbara County ABC said the department rejected Fundament’s original application because of protests made by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept.

In response to Fundament’s application, several members of the community also filed protests with the ABC.

“The Sheriff’s Dept. protested the license because of two issues,” Macias said. “One was an over-concentration of liquor licenses in the area, and the other was a concern that another hard liquor license in I.V. might aggravate an existing police problem. We denied the license because of the second complaint.”

After the ABC denied his initial application, Fundament filed a petition Dec. 13, 2003 to appeal the ABC’s decision. Fundament said he submitted a petition signed by 850 people, including 10 UCSB faculty members. Dublin’s then reposted its intent to apply for the Type 47 liquor license, which Macias said drew around 20 additional protests from community members.

According to the ABC’s certificate of decision, the Sheriff’s Dept. and other protestors presented evidence that “there is much irresponsible consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Del Playa section” of I.V., but they failed to show “how that evidence is relevant to Mr. Fundament’s application.”

Because the concerns raised by the protestors are common to any bar or restaurant that serves alcohol and because Dublin’s is located approximately six blocks from the area of I.V., where most law-enforcement problems occur, the ABC decided to issue the Type 47 license with conditions to “ameliorate” the concerns of the protestors.

Fundament said he hopes the community will continue to support Dublin’s, despite the protests to his license.

“I just want to be a good neighbor to everybody,” Fundament said. “I want people to know that when you come in here, you’ll be well taken care of.”