DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines Zoning Board of Adjustments decided this month to shut off alcohol sales at the Court Center complex at midnight instead of 2 a.m. However, the new hours will not take effect before New Year’s Eve.

A city spokesperson told WHO 13 Friday that Des Moines administrators are still in the process of finalizing the Court Center restrictions and do not have an estimate on when it will be enforced.

Court Center is the most notable building in the Court Avenue Entertainment District, and it has experienced a turbulent end to 2022.

Shag’s, a bar owned by the building owners, temporarily lost its liquor license in October after an explicit incident happened inside. Two bars on the top floor, Beer Can Alley and The Exchange, then closed for good at the end of November.

The Shag’s incident, as well as dozens of police responses to Court Center throughout the year, led to last week’s heated meeting between the Zoning Board of Adjustment and a representative for the Court Center building owners.

“Your building is pictured as the place where we should go,” zoning board member Dave Gaer told the building owners’ representative. “I tell you what, I wouldn’t have your building on the front of anything based on what I know right now.”

Eric Hartung owns Chummy, a bar on the ground floor of Court Center unrelated to the others. He believes the impending midnight curfew comes down too hard on other restauranteurs who he says have done nothing wrong.

“I thought it was a little bit harsh at first,” Hartung said. “We anticipated some kind of enforcement, obviously, but to close at midnight seems aggressive. A lot of the tenants here have been good and abide by the laws of the Des Moines city code. We want the best for the Court Avenue district.”

He also worries the midnight curfew may inadvertently scare off potential customers who don’t realize it does not take effect until after New Year’s Eve.

“There’s a lot of planning involved for New Year’s Eve,” Hartung said. “We’re excited to be open until 2 and we’re going to do the best we can.”