Mayor proposes longer bar hours

Mayor Mike McGinn is considering a controversial proposal to cut back on rowdy behavior that sometimes erupts when Seattle bars close — let bars set their own closing times, even if it’s later than 2 a.m. One of the options includes allowing bars to serve liquor all night.

Here in Ballard, the proposal would apply most to Old Ballard., where most of the neighborhood nightlife congregates on weekends. Acting Seattle Police Chief John Diaz supports the idea, reports the Seattle Times, but the State Liquor Control Board — which would have to approve it — has its doubts.

The city plans to ask for public feedback on the proposal until Sept. 15th, and both the state and the city council would have to approve it.

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26 thoughts to “Mayor proposes longer bar hours”

  1. Didn’t they do this somewhere in Europe and it cut down on binge drinking and fighting at 2am? No need to slam your drink before the light goes up…no panic to order just one more…I remember 20-nothing!

    A good idea. McGinn’s second good idea in the form of a $20 car tab came today too. Excellent ideas, both of them.

  2. I have a mental picture of folks just moving bar to bar as they close, and you would still have a crowd whenever the last one closed really really drunk because they had been at it longer. And driving bar to bar between. Can’t see this working.

  3. this would totally work. I’ve lived in plenty of places where bars are open till 4am or later, and not one of these places has issues with fights, etc. the way seattle does.

    just do it.

  4. There might be some of that “find the last bar” mentality, but I think that wont be the majority. Those folks are gonna get trashed no matter what the rules are.

    You cant get rid of the thug mentality, but you can give them less of a crowd to work with and get rid of a well known “go cruise at 2am” routine.

    I’d rather take a smaller, more tired crowd at 4am than a larger more fired up crowd at 2am. We wont’ know if it will really work until we try it to be honest. I DO know that what we have now doenst work that well though.

  5. I like the thug mentality. It reduces the supply of educated, responsible people in the workforce, which keeps salaries high.

    I’m hoping thug life to sweeps the nation. I’m saving for a boat.

  6. My so-so opinion of the mayor has risen a couple notches with this and the car tab thing and the parking lot tax.

    Maybe McGinn actually /does/ want to help Seattle be awesome.

  7. I’d like to see (from the city or here) some more carefully cited evidence driven arguments. “I lived somewhere with no last call and there were less fights and problems” sounds good, but I need to know A) if that is in fact true statistically B) is the reason causal and not just a spurious correlation, and C) is the other city similar enough to Seattle that it will work.

    For instance this policy seems to work in NYC, but then again bar patron’s are mostly not driving.

    In any case there should be a time when no one else is let in and that if you leave you may not reenter. Otherwise loaders in Everett and Tacoma will decide at 2am that it’s only 30 minutes drive to the next beer.

    And there should be a stop serving time that is about an hour or so earlier than the time people need to leave the bar. People filter out more slowly under these conditions.

    There should should be a time when the last of the patrons needs to go home too, so they don’t end up driving in the early part of the morning commute.

    If we do it: 2am no newby/reentry, 3:30am stop serving, 4:30am don’t let the door hit you …

  8. Sounds great. Better for business. Less nanny state/city. More personal responsibility. That is a great change for this regulation-crazed city.

  9. To me, the real question is: What was the logic behind setting closing times at 2am in the first place? What was the reason for blocking sale of alcohol at stores after 2am? Why is liquor not sold at grocery stores?

    Were there valid social reasons for setting these restrictions, or is it purely on moral grounds? Is it more immoral to consume alcohol after 2am? Is it more dangerous? Do people turn into gremlins?

    Are these just relics of the prohibition era?

    If there is no modern precedent for maintaining a law, if it no longer applies to our society, it should be repealed.

    Arguments about why these laws are in place and should be preserved seem pure speculation and fearmongery.

  10. I lived in NYC from age 19 to 30 and to this day, you can show up at a bar at 3:59 a.m. and get a drink…depending on the bar, you can down your drink or finish it as you walk out the door, dropping the glass on a table right by the door. I don’t know of any state that lets places serve alcohol with letting new people in. Difference is, with NYC you then get in a cab or subway…And I’ve seen plenty of 4 a.m. drunk fights (and 2 a.m. for that matter). However, I was punched outside Matador by some guy who hated lesbians (I was with my husband) Never seen anything like that in NYC…With all of that said, I miss my late nights (for bars and restaurants, why do restaurants close so early here?) With later opening times, some people go out early and others later, and you get less of that pounding a 6 pack in the 7-11 parking lot before going into the bar since last call is only an hour away.

  11. My favorite time of morning in NYC is 4 a.m. when the bars and clubs close (with the exception of some of the dance clubs) and everyone spills onto the street and chats and yells and fights before heading off to breakfast…It happens exactly the same in Seattle, just at 2. If that is what McGinn wants to stop, it will have to be staggered closing times or 24 hour service.

    And BallardMike, Ann is right, NYC lets newcomers in right up to closing….

  12. Cosmo:

    I have been told (but have not verified) that many of the laws, including the curfew, were pushed by Weyerhauser back in the day as a way of ensuring their workers made it to work on time. I’m also told the cutoff used to be midnight.

  13. “I have been told (but have not verified) that many of the laws, including the curfew, were pushed by Weyerhauser back in the day as a way of ensuring their workers made it to work on time. I’m also told the cutoff used to be midnight.”

    sounds plausible — in the 1910’s prohibition in the US was driven by religious women, more specifically the wives of Protestant industrialists and managers who had a real financial interest in 2nd wave Catholic immigrants showing up to work on time and sober. Similarly I don’t let my dog smoke crack for a couple hours before he babysits. What’s the big deal?

  14. Ann- That sucks!!! I tried but cannot resist asking…does your husband look like a lesbian too? Seems to be little correlation between New York social culture and seattle. Unfortunately.

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