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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 10/27/2006

Fall Back to the Bar

By Fritz Hahn

It sounds like an obvious question: With Eastern Standard Time turning the clocks back on Sunday morning, do we all get an extra hour of drinking and clubbing? (I'm sure some of you are thinking about that extra hour of sleep, but not me.) However, it seems that every year, bartenders, bar owners and customers are confused about whether establishments are allowed to serve alcohol for what's technically another hour.

D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Spokesman Jeff Coudriet admitted he had no idea if bars could just turn the clock back an hour. "That's a really good question, and I don't think it's ever come up before," he said.

After checking with the director's office, Coudriet called back to say that the party was on. "[Eastern Standard Time] is a function of law, and we follow the law. It's spring forward, fall back -- they get the extra hour now and they obviously lose an hour in the spring, so it all balances out."

Calls to Montgomery County's Department of Liquor Control and Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control confirm that they'll be doing the same thing.

However, just because bars can pour drinks for an extra hour doesn't mean they will. "We usually don't do that," says Black Cat owner Dante Ferrando. "It's like being open until 4 a.m. It's just too late. I think the staff would kick my [butt] if I tried it."

Responses range from "We'll be open an extra half-hour" at Tommy Joe's in Bethesda to "No, we won't be staying open longer" at Georgetown favorite the Tombs to "Of course!" at Fly Lounge.

Clarendon Grill and Clarendon Ballroom are hosting Halloween parties on Saturday night, and owner Peter Pflug says both will be open later than usual -- maybe. "What ends up happening, especially with Halloween, is that by that point, people are worn out," he says. "People just get crazy. We have people who get there at 7 p.m. We'll be prepared to be open later, depending on how the crowd acts."

Asylum owner John Andrade thought the law required him to close at the usual time, but when he found out he could stay open for an extra hour, he said his bar will be open as long as possible.

The message: When in doubt, call and ask.

In related news, Metro will also be rolling the clock back an hour once it hits 2 a.m., so if you stay out for that "extra hour" of drinking, you'll be able to get home safely.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | October 27, 2006; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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