"To attempt to have non-drinking events... at the same location where people are allowed to drink, it's not a workable formula," says Segarra. He says it's simply not enforceable.
"If it's next to impossible to regulate, should we just eliminate it?" is the question Lawlor says the state needs to answer about juice bars.
State liquor officials don't even know how many of these popular "non-alcoholic" bars for young people exist in Connecticut. Current state law says the owner of a café that wants to have a "juice bar" for minors simply has to notify the local police chief.
The cops can then, at the café owner's expense, assign an officer to watch over those young "non-drinkers."
Smuts says New Haven officials aren't looking for anything drastic when it comes to juice bars. "We're not looking to shut them down," he says, just "tweak" the laws or regulations governing them.
What exactly those tweaks would be Smuts isn't ready to say: "That's not something we're going to rush into."
Lawlor says Malloy believes that the state's "mosaic" of laws and regulations governing juice bars and after-hours and BYOB clubs "need to be looked at in a comprehensive way."
Malloy is well aware that any attempt to overhaul our rats' nest of liquor laws in 2014 is certain to trigger some major lobbying fights and get folks all riled up in what happens to be a big election year.