From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
Earlier this month we reported that Mayor Vincent Gray had proposed extending alcohol service by one hour as part of his Fiscal Year 2013 budget. If approved, the change would allow bars and restaurants to continue slinging libations until as late as 4 am beginning October 1.
The proposed change would also allow retail liquor sales to begin at 7 am, two hours earlier than what currently stands, Monday through Saturday (same for beer and wine sales at grocery stores). Sunday sales at liquor stores would still be prohibited.
This week, the mayor’s proposal received an important endorsement from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). In testimony before the Council’s Committee on Human Services, RAMW President Lynne Breaux stated her “wholehearted” support of the initiative. Others in DC’s business community have expressed similar support.
It’s worth noting that some local neighborhood listervs have been abuzz over the proposed changes (particularly the U Street one), in areas with a high concentration of bars and clubs. There are concerns about trash and litter, in addition to people being out and about drinking even later.
Gray’s plan was inspired in large part by the extended bar service hours in January of 2009, in celebration of the Presidential Inauguration. For four days, bars and restaurants served booze into the wee hours, generating a surge of revenue for the city and, one assumes, a major hangover for the revelers.
Regardless of whether Gray’s proposal succeeds this time, he is also pursuing extended alcohol service for the 2013 and 2017 inaugurations.