San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Heredia Pub Raises Bar for Traffic Law

Despite widespread frustrations over Costa Rica’s new traffic law, which cracks down on drunken driving, at least one enterpreneur is trying to make the best of the situation.

To confront reduced business at his bar, Alfredo Sánchez, owner of Los Itabos in San Miguel de Santo Domingo de Heredia, north of San José, is arranging rides home for his customers and has started a food and drink delivery service.

Though some liquor stores and supermarkets are reporting increased sales, Sanchéz business at his bar has gone down.

He assumes it is due to the more severe traffic law that took effect on Dec. 23 and carries heavy penalties for people who drive while under the influence of alcohol.

Sánchez, 52, who has owned Los Itabos for the past four years, says modifying his business plan is necessary because 40 percent of his revenue depends on beer and liquor sales, and the other 60 percent is food.

He lives in the area with his wife and children, and though he agrees that the laws were put in place for the safety of everyone, it’s still not easy to deal with the change.

“How am I even supposed to keep my house without the business I had?” says Sánchez. “It’s hard. We had to start the delivery system just so that I can sustain the bar.”

Sánchez is offering to deliver a large menu of food and full alcohol bottles. He is also offering the services of some friends who are willing to drive locals to and from the bar for a reasonable price, and whoever agrees to be a designated driver for a minimum of six people gets a free beverage and appetizer.


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