D.C. Council Chair, Others React to Senators' Opposition of Extended Bar Hours
People continue to take sides in the debate over whether the District's bars and nightclubs should be allowed to stay open around-the-clock (and serve alcohol until 5 a.m.) during inauguration week.
Reacting to the letter from Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Bob Bennett, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said he respects their opinion but believes the emergency law approved last week is sound public policy. Gray writes:
While I respect the views of Senators Feinstein and Bennett, having venues available for residents and visitors alike in which to spend time during the Inaugural celebrations for President-Elect Barack Obama will provide entertainment options in organized settings for people. The legislation passed by Council of the District of Columbia last week to extend the hours that alcoholic beverages can be served in bars, nightclubs and restaurants is not unprecedented. On New Year’s Eve, a night of large crowds and celebrations, the city allows alcoholic beverages to be served until 4 AM. And, current law permits the sale of alcoholic beverages until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.
Meanwhile, City Paper's Erik Wemple says the senators are right, even if they should butt out of the city's business.
But think about the scenario–we’re going out of our way to extend bar and club hours, and for what? So the police can prowl the streets collaring people for disorderlies and DUIs all the way up to 7 am? It’d be nice to think that the spirit of Election Night will linger; in other words, that people will be joyous and peaceful and so on. But four nights of almost-to-dawn revelry provides a huge opening for the knuckleheads of the world to have their day.
Also, 2,069 people had voted in the Washington Post's informal, unscientific on-line poll on the question: "Do you agree with the D.C. Council's decision to extend bar hours during inauguration week?" The verdict so far is 57 percent in favor of the move vs. 39 percent against it (and 3 percent undecided).
David A Nakamura
December 10, 2008; 1:48 PM ET
Food & Dining
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