24 June 2008

Closing Time

After a spat of closing time shootings, Mayor Hickenlooper is taking a look at options for tougher gun laws and adjusted nightclub operating hours.

Gun control is a ball of wax that I'll leave for another day.

Nighclub operating hour adjustments are something that has been tried, that worked, when similar problems (absent the guns) arose in London. There, closing hours are staged. Most bars close at one hour, a few close an hour or two later, and some close after that, with the plan being to funnel hard core light night partiers to bars the close the latest, until a mere trickle of then docile drunks are left at the couple of bars that close the latest.

About one year ago, Hickenlooper said, the city brought bar owners together to discuss changing the 2 a.m. bar closing time, but no changes were made. He hopes to bring the owners together once more to talk about changing closing hour.

Whitman said there has been discussion of staggering closing times. But if bars are left open longer, even if no alcohol is served for the last hour or more, it will require more police to patrol them, he added.

Bars throughout the city contribute to the rowdiness that accompanies closing time when they fail to cut off those who have had too much to drink, he said.

Hickenlooper is uniquely qualified to know what would work in this arena as a long time LoDo bar owner himself. I don't know what level of government sets the 2 a.m. closing time, or whether home rule provides an room for meddling with limits set by state law on the issue.

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