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Extend Closing Time To 4 a.m.

Photo: Illustrations by Tom Chalkley, License: N/A

Illustrations by Tom Chalkley

Baltimore has a bit of a chip on its civic shoulder in terms of how we don’t get no respect from lots of other big burgs. One of the reasons is our level of civilization with respect to the bar scene here, and rightfully so. How on earth is anybody gonna have a totally full-on righteous night out on the town if the barkeeps are cutting on the harsh closing-time lights and telling you to get out at 1:45 in the a.m.? That’s just rude!

Try explaining this situation to someone from New York or L.A., and then getting them to tag along with you to some sketchy “after-hours” hole where you technically aren’t supposed to even have alcohol, so you’re out in the car in the 30 degrees of cold winter chill, taking slugs out of a shared bottle of whatever you could scrounge so you will be Socially Lubricated enough to want to hang out in the nasty drug den that’s still better than drinking out on the stoop, or worser still, at home, shudder.

Yes, yes, there are “nicer” establishments for illicit post-closing fun, and experienced party people know where to grab that after-hours snootful, and we all know certain licensed establishments that look the other way and will serve you a beer with your late-night nosh, but why are you having a late-night nosh when what you really want to be having is convivial cocktails or closing the deal with some cutie you only met at 1:30 a.m.?

And why does this all have to be illicit? People want to burn longer than 2 a.m., and if anything, this will alleviate the drunk traffic-bubble you see on the streets at 2 a.m., not to mention the spike in violence if we can spread out the egress of patrons from various establishments. And no, we’re not saying every single tavern should be open until 4 a.m.; of course it should be a case-by-case licensing modification.

The city should look at the rise of “underground” clubs it seems so eager to jam its jackboot up and turn an obvious consumer demand into a win for the tax base and a win for responsible drunks who want to hang out for one more.

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