Years ago, O'Lacy's co-owner Kent Ewell was concerned about his customers getting tickets for parking overnight in the lot across from his pub on School Street.
Ewell marched down to city hall and complained and, he said, and the tickets stopped.
Now, they're starting again and he's none too happy about it.
"I don't think it's the right way to look at the situation," Ewell said. "Somebody has made a good decision not to drive and they get a ticket."
Bar owners downtown say it's not unusual for customers to have an unexpected drink, have one more than they planned, run into an old buddy leading to a later night, or have some other circumstance change, and find themselves walking home, taking a cab or getting a ride from a friend.
Derek Geib, co-owner of Bourbon & Burger Co. on Jackson Street, said he's worried that human nature being what it is, some people will make an incorrect calculation and risk a possible DWI charge, costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars, when confronted with the certainty of a $25 ticket.
"It encourages drinking and driving," Geib said. "They're going to do it every time because that's the way people think."
One of Geib's employees and one of his customers have received tickets so far.
City Manager Jason Molino stands by the city's decision to enforce downtown parking regulations. He said it's necessary to ensure transient trucks, RVs, abandoned vehicles and such don't clutter the parking lot, and during the winter, maintain control of what vehicles are in the lots.
He said so far there's been good compliance, with apartment tenants buying the necessary permits and fewer cars without permits being left overnight.
As for bar patrons, Molino said there is an appeal process and any patron receiving a ticket is welcome to submit the ticket to the city for review.
"Discretion will be exercised if needed," Molino said. "But I would suggest that somebody make better arrangements (when going to bars).
Ken Mistler, owner of the former South Beach and soon-to-be City Slickers said that's not good enough.
"I'm concerned because if a customer finds a ticket he's not going to say anything, he's just going to be discouraged from coming back," Mistler said.
According to Mistler, he's been told by the city that only cars that are seen in the lots on a regular basis but don't have permits will receive tickets, but even then, he said, that is still a potential problem with customers.
"I hope I have lots of repeat business," Mistler said.
Local resident John Condello has started a petition that will be presented to the city council at its June 14 meeting, he said. The petition is available at any downtown restaurant, he said.
A lot has changed in downtown since the current downtown parking regulations were written into law and city officials should reexamine the rules, Ewell said.
"They were written before there was an O'Lacy's, before there was a South Beach, before there was a Larry's," Ewell said. "There was only the Candlelight."
The price of the $25 ticket is about six gallons of gas at today's prices, Ewell said, which is just about the amount somebody might spend to get from Brockport to Batavia, or just enough to discourage a trip from out of the county to enjoy a night on the town in Batavia.
The bar owners we spoke with all believe the new enforcement effort is just an attempt by the city to generate more revenue.
"You can tell it is because there was no plan, no questions (of local businesses), they just started ticketing," Ewell said. "That just leads me to believe they said, 'let's just get the money.' "