Like it or not, the Island is still very much a town-by-town place — slow to embrace change, defiantly independent, charmingly — and at times infuriatingly — inefficient. Those who live here know and accept this indelible character trait of the place. First-time visitors are advised to buckle up, enjoy the ride and take nothing for granted.

To that end, dining out in Chilmark this spring and summer will still mean bringing your own bottle, following the decision by voters at town meeting this week to reject a petition aimed at allowing the sale of beer and wine in restaurants.

With the five other towns Island towns now wet, Chilmark has opted to stay true to its Yankee roots and remain dry. Many who enjoy the custom of brown bagging when going out to eat — a practice that does have an unmistakable rural appeal and is certainly more economical for diners — will no doubt applaud the decision.

Although he was not the author of the latest petition to consider beer and wine sales, it was supported by Bob Nixon, a respected businessman who with his wife Sarah owns two of the three restaurants in town that would have benefitted from the change.

On the other side of the debate, the equally respected Menemsha businessman and small restaurant owner Frank Fenner led the push to keep the status quo.

And though the issue was framed on both sides as a vote for safety, there is little evidence that people are more or less likely to drink and drive whether they buy their liquor by the drink or bring their own bottle.

Clearly, this was not an issue where facts ruled.

In fact the history of alcohol sales on the Island mirrors its quirky rural parochialism.

Edgartown and Oak Bluffs have long allowed full liquor establishments, including bars, restaurants and package stores. But until a few years ago, the other four towns had been dry since before the days of Prohibition. No one really questioned it, until the last economic recession hit.

Things began to change about a decade ago when a home rule petition surfaced in Vineyard Haven to allow beer and wine sales in food establishments with more than thirty seats. The petition was driven largely by restaurant owners but also other businessmen who were feeling the pinch in a down economy. Restaurants and others were struggling to stay afloat. There was worry that Main street was dying. The time had come to loosen the reins on alcohol sales, petitioners argued.

In Tisbury it turned out to be a much harder sell than some might have predicted. The beer and wine petition saw blistering debate amid much soul-searching about the quiet character of the Island’s main port town and whether that would be upended by the change. The town was quite literally divided down the middle. It took five years and two votes before the petition passed in 2010, after the first ballot ended in a tie. But it did pass, and in the end the change turned out to be benign. No controversy, few problems.

Now Tisbury has approved a second petition to expand the licensing and allow hard liquor in restaurants, this time far more easily. The question will return to the town for a second vote once the petition clears the state legislature, but at this stage it appears to be headed for approval. In Vineyard Haven, it appears the fight is over.

In Aquinnah and West Tisbury, where there are only a handful of restaurants, beer and wine sales have also been approved in similar petition initiatives, with little controversy. Tiny Aquinnah passed their beer and wine question in 2008, even before Vineyard Haven made the change in 2010. West Tisbury followed suit in 2012.

The business of running a restaurant in a seasonal economy is not an easy one, and most restaurateurs will confirm that alcohol sales can make the difference between success and failure.

Still, there is something quintessentially Vineyard in Chilmark’s refusal to join the rest of the Island.

Final tally: five wet towns, one dry.

Buy your own, bring your own, the choice is yours.

And wherever you choose dine out this spring and summer, please remember not to drink and drive.