For the first time, some DC bars can stay open until 4am, thanks to a new law.
Reveling in the nightlife until 4 a.m. Monday isn’t practical for most people heading in to the workweek, and in D.C. it’s been impossible, with bars closing at 2 a.m. Until now.
This Columbus Day weekend is the first chance for bars to test a new city policy allowing extended alcohol sales. The D.C. Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration has given permits to 42 bars out of 57 that applied, allowing them to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. Monday. The bars had to come up with details plans on how they would control potential crowds and noise.
The new rule is a part of the District’s fiscal 2013 budget that took effect Oct. 1, but it is not guaranteed that all of the 42 bars actually will keep their doors open until 4 a.m. on Sunday.
“We haven’t decided yet,” Tattoo Bar General Manager Scott Eustace said. “It depends on the night; if I feel that people have had enough to drink or if there is no one here around 2 a.m., I will close.”
He is not sure if it is a good idea to stay open that late.
“My biggest concern is people being safe,” he said. “I used to say that nothing good happens after 3 o’clock anyway, but we’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll close the alcohol sale at 3 and then just keep the music on for a little while.”
The Argonaut and Josephine are two of the other bars that applied for extended opening hours and got permission, but neither of them are certain that they will stay open as long as they are allowed.
“We are going to retain our regular schedule and we are not doing anything special, but if the crowd dictates us to, maybe we will keep the doors open until 4,” said Chandler Christian, day manager at the Argonaut.
Mandy O’Neill, day manager at Josephine, agreed, saying it all depends on whether people want to stay out or not.
“It will be interesting to see if people actually want to party that late on a Sunday, but not everyone has to go to work on Monday,” she said
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has said in the past that extended hours the nights before holidays will boost tourism in D.C. and that the extra hours will bring $3 million in revenue from alcohol sales.
Eustace does not think it will make that big of a difference.
“Personally, I don’t think the revenue will be extreme, since it’s a Sunday,” he said. “I was surprised when I heard they wanted to not only let us serve until 3 a.m., as on Fridays and Sundays, but until 4. I am not 100 percent sure if people want to stay out that late. I always say the later we stay open, the later people get out. And we would like people to get out early.”
With the new rule, establishments will now be able to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. around New Year’s and prior to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
The Washington Post published a list of the 42 establishments approved for extended hours this weekend: