The Timing Of Getting Drunk In Annapolis
The Annapolis City Council is set to vote down a bill that would allow all bars in the city to apply for a 2 a.m. liquor license. The current zoning structure arbitrarily distributes said licenses so perversely that bars less than 100 feet from each other have different mandated closing times, and that new bars opening in certain places can get 2 am licenses while some long existing establishments still cannot.
I have argued ad nauseam that this city’s treatment of the ‘2 am vs midnight’ bar issue is ridiculous, that bars should be able to stay open until 2 am if they behave properly, and that enforcement of existing laws (prohibition on urinating on flower pots, for example) is the issue that we should really be focusing on.
In anticipation of the upcoming vote on this issue next week, The Capital ran an article in Sunday’s business section regarding this topic. The article didn’t report anything that was new, at least as far as your’s truly is concerned, save one apparent genius:
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Newport, a historic waterfront town, faced a similar situation, said
Richard Sardella, owner of Sardella’s Italian Restaurant and Newport mayor
from 2000 to 2005.
Up until 1983, bars in Newport were allowed to stay open until 2 a.m.,
he said. In response to rowdiness late at night, city officials passed an
ordinance that rolled back bar hours from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m., he said.
He said the new rule resulted in a “mass exodus” of
late-night customers who left Newport for surrounding towns, such as
Middletown and Jamestown, where bars stayed open later.
“They would go half a mile down the road from me to bars that were open until 2 a.m.,” he said.
To cut down on liquor violations for late-night drinkers, Mr. Sardella
said he ran for mayor on a platform of “zero tolerance.” He instituted $500
fines for violations such as urinating in public and or having an open
container of alcohol on the street. Mr. Sardella said his efforts resulted
in a dramatic change in the number of violations issued.
I plan to make one more omnibus post–the 2 am magnum opus–that I predict will serve as the dissenting opinion on this issue for weeks, possibly even months to come.