After owning the famed Santa Fe restaurant, The Bull Ring, for 41 years, its owner, Harry Georgeades sold the establishment to a local business group headed by Santa Fe restauranteur Clint Singley, citing the Legislature’s law that “devalued” its liquor license.
The changing of ownership is ironic since The Bull Ring is a hotspot for legislators and lobbyists during the legislative session, where many deals are made and where the wheels of the Roundhouse turn.
But Georgeades had enough when Democrats passed their bill that lowered the cost of liquor licenses and harmed those who already had licenses. The same bad law also banned miniature bottles of alcohol, which now force people to buy more expensive larger bottles. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas.
During the process of the anti-business bill’s consideration, New Mexico Packaged Liquor Association’s Mark Rhodes said, “I had clients during the session that were explaining to me that some people that have drinking problems will buy a mini to get through the morning or the afternoon or the day.” He added, “If they’re forced to buy larger quantities, which is what’s going to happen, they’ll buy more liquor. They’ll buy a half pints or even larger.”
The law, which was signed by Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, “reduced the cost of a liquor license to the range of about $1,550 to $10,000 rather than anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Now with The Bull Ring changing hands, Georgeades told the New Mexican, “When the Legislature changed the liquor rules, it just took a toll on me.” He continued, “Our liquor license was devalued. That’s the major thing.”
Also, Georgeades blames the Governor’s pandemic lockdowns for him calling it quits.
“There’s also this: Like all restaurants, the pandemic did a number on The Bull Ring. What was a lunch-and-dinner steak joint open to 10 p.m. is now open 4 to 8 p.m. (and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday), serving dinner only. Worker shortages are in play, too. For Georgeades, 40 years finally was enough,” the report noted.
According to the New Mexico Restaurant Association, 18 percent, or 1,100 restaurants, closed for good under Lujan Grisham’s lockdowns. The Bull Ring is one of the lucky ones to only be sold to another owner, not closed down.