Legislature fears early morning drunks; blocks Boston effort to let bars stay open later

The Globe reports there'll be no extended bar hours in Boston, because decades after the legislature took away local control of bars, legislators still don't trust City Hall.



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This is why we can't have nice things

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Someone had a little too much too much to drink and decided to get an horse and shout how a group of people are coming. Still paying for it to this day

And Why The Streets Are Deserted On A Lovely Friday Evening

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These pictures were taken along Washington Street in Downtown Crossing last Friday night at 2:00 am:
I've noticed that more and more people are riding the Ⓣ during the extended service each Friday since it began. It's too bad there aren't more businesses open at night in the heart of the city!


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The streets are deserted because there is no place to park. Take one lane on these streets and make parking spaces and watch how fast things pick up. Not everyone raves about Uber.


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Fuck No.

The streets are wastelands because there's literally nothing open. You're lucky to have two ground level retail/food businesses per block operating past 4PM there (most of the food places start breaking down lunch at 3:15PM)

Use some sense

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During the day there is still "no place to park" -- yet the streets are teeming with pedestrians.

Funny how that works. When stuff is open, people find a way to get down there. A lot of people.

You know, because it is "Downtown Crossing": at the intersection of three busy subway lines.

Such A Waste

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In a city of 500K, think of all the economic activity left on the table by under utilizing a key downtown mixed use space like this.

Part of it comes right back to housing and the historical lack of residential options in DTX, but that's less true year after year.

We're missing economic opportunities by being anti-construction and anti-odd hours businesses. There's even an argument that it go a long way to fixing Bostons "pub" problem, where substandard swills server pub food during the day, only to clear out their tables to becomes packed booze clubs at night.

There's high demand for much lower key places where you can go for a drink, some food, and relax with good company that don't market that as a luxury only offering. There's real opportunity to change the culture and for everyone to make out, if only we get get past antiquated notions of late night service, noise, and dense construction.


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Are we really surprised by this?

The Nanny State..

You are right

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I blew right by that part, so I've updated the story. Still shows a fundamental distrust of City Hall.

Any little birds

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get the names that both Boston.com and the Globe apparently have, but conveniently left out? I'm sure I can guess, but confirmation on who's pushing for what and why would be nice.

So why whine to the state?

Maybe because these lawmakers weren't in the majority and were not getting their way within the city?

Just because some oppose it doesn't mean the state should get to step in.

The State didn't 'step in"

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Based on state laws enacted by the Yankees and suburban legislatures years ago, to counteract the Irish ascendency in Boston politics, the state is fully in charge here. For this and other proposed changes to many local Boston laws and regulations, the state has to approve or disapprove. It really doesn't matter what the city council and mayor think unless the Legislature approves.

Most of these local closing

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Most of these local closing laws were enacted by lobbying of the Anti-Saloon League. These local laws were a precursor to the 18th Amendment; but when the amendment was repealed the local laws remained. The Anti-Saloon League joined with the Suffragettes and the progressive Party to also pass the US Amendments allowing women to vote and permitting the direct election of US Senators and the Federal Income Tax.
Also many suffragettes joined with the ASL to support anti-drinking laws because of the association between men's drinking and domestic violence against women and children.
Of course, that was then and now most people would agree that what is really needed to improve the quality of life in the Boston is more opportunities for hipsters and tourists to drink.......... this is especially true in the North End.

This is good news.

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For once the Legislature got it right. For every thirsty tourist looking for a drink after 2 am, there would be a score or more inebriated frat boys and girls doing the same thing.
When that tourist calls it a night, they would go back to their hotel. The bros and broettes would return to their overpriced condos and apartments in neighborhoods where some of us want to be able to sleep through the night uninterrupted.
This crap about 'world class' this or that is nothing more than propaganda put out by the hospitality industry.

If the nay-sayers can conclusively

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prove this "doom and gloom" theory about later bar closings leading to chaos, anarchy, cats and dogs living together in harmony, etc. etc., , then you may have a point.

Until then, however, let's give the idea a chance and see if it works, instead of this idiotic "oh, it's change, so it must be bad and prevented at all costs" mentality.

I dont understand how 2am is

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I dont understand how 2am is fine for people as you state "to sleep uninterrupted", but later would be chaos. Do you go to bed after 2 now, or are you able to sleep through the 2am closing but 4am would be different? Also, how does the cost of someones apt. affect your sleep, or are you just generally angry and fear change.

Last Call

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It's fairly simple. I have a right to peace and quiet. The closing times for some establishments is 2 am. I live in a neighborhood where there are party's every weekend. They do go late. It doesn't matter if I go to sleep at noon. I don't fear change. I am a realist. I see it and I accept it. I am however, opposed to later closing hours for bars because an overwhelming majority of those night owl customers aren't tourists. Instead they are people who live around here and they will bring back their party and noise at an unacceptable hour. I applaud the decision of the Legislature.

As my mother used to say ...

There isn't anything that you can do at 2am that you can't do at Midnight.

Ergo, there isn't anything that can be done at 4am that isn't possible at 2am.

So ... why does it even matter? If people leave the bars and bring their party home at 2am, what difference does a last call at 4am mean? Other than the party comes home two hours later?

Or that your bar-going neighbors may not bring a party home at all if they can stay out until 4am?

I guess that I'm just not following your reasoning here.

Setting An Arbitrary Time Causes Some People To Drink Too Much

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Some people will try to drink as much as possible in advance of the "last call" deadline, rather than drink socially at more leisurely (and safer) pace. Worse, after consuming this larger amount of alcohol, all patrons are immediately required to leave the establishment!

Stop selling alcohol at 2:00 if they must, but let the clubs remain open selling food and/or non-alcoholic beverages for a couple hours longer, or even continuing right on into breakfast if they wish. In addition to making it more fun, it would bring more commerce into Boston and make it a much safer place.

Tourists are more worthy?

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Really? You oppose this because it wouldnt be for the tourists, just the people who live here? SMH.

Sounds like

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A lack of late night options are causing "kids" to make due with their shitty hand.

I remember college well, and while some parties were just parties; a lot of the time we threw them because it was easier to rally friends, the bars were tiny packed swill holes, and we were too broke to go to the nicer places. Staying was the least shitty option.

I'm sure laxer hours and more options wouldn't entirely fix the problem (college kids will be college kids), but I'm also not sure how you see it exacerbating the issue.

The number of college residents in any of the neighborhoods is pretty consistent. It's not going to attract more people, but thin out the herd.


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If the Bros are going to wake you up coming back from the bar, the closing time isn't going to affect that. Does it really matter if they wake you up at 2 AM versus 3 AM?

You must be a hermit

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You must be a hermit then and never go out. I'm not kidding.

Anyone who has gone out ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD knows that a 2am closing time is INSANE. NYC is all night. SF is 4am. Hell I can go to Atlanta and get served until 4am. Boston is pathetic with its 2am. It's time to move into the 21st century.

But do bars close?

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But bars may stop serving at 4am but can remain open. There's a difference between serving and remaining open.

Hell I'd be OK with bars last call being 2am, if they could remain open until 4 so folks could sober up.

Personal experience is that

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Personal experience is that you can stay in a NYC bar past 4 a.m.

Although I have no idea if that was legal or just them not giving a shit.

I like that idea, but....

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...try selling it to the bar owners who would have to stay open and pay staff when nobody's ringing up a tab. It would make more sense for a Franklin Cafe or Eastern Standard with an actual kitchen they could keep open for a late-late night menu. But if you're talking a Flann O'Brien's or Brendan Behan, those'd be some pricey sodas.

Nobody would be forcing them to stay open that late

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Even under the current City that Always Sleeps regulations, bar owners have the option to close earlier without penalty. 4 a.m. might work downtown and near the convention center, probably not in Roslindale (in the unlikely event the legislature agrees to extend closing hours and the city then decides to allow later closings in Roslindale).


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As I said above.. bars are allowed to remain open after last call. This would make ALL the difference. I could care less if booze is being served after 2am, as long as I am not pushed out onto the side walk at 2am.

PS - Notice how I didn't say last call or alcohol.. just that 'bars are allowed to be open'. Big difference.

S.F. closing time is 4AM?

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News to me, when did they change? Must have been very recently, like the past year or so. It was 2AM in 2013.

Los Angeles is also 2AM, unless like S.F. it also recently changed to 4.

Chicago is also 2AM, 3 weekends. I think D.C. is the same or was until very recently.

Chicago is 4 A.M. ; most bars

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Chicago is 4 A.M. ; most bars close at 2:00, but there are special licenses which permit closing at 4:00. So I think it's actually the closest situation to what Mayor Walsh was proposing

I'm starting to think

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That it depends on the bar in both NYC and San Francisco.

As I keep saying, there's a difference between closing time and stop serving time. Unlike other cities, in boston, when the booze stops, the bar closes @ 2am.

I've been to the End Up in SF, and yes they stop serving at one point, but the club itself is open until 8am on weekends, (see their website) So I'm sure its very bar dependent.

I just wish Boston would get over its 2am closing time. I could care less if booze is being served for the last hour or two, gives me time to sober up and still have fun. Its the being pushed out onto the street directly after last call.

Wrong on so many levels.

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1) The capped license system promotes poor stewardship and concentration of ownership, just like the medallion system does with taxis. A owner holding $500,000 license with little threat of competition can easily make a tidy profit by serving terrible pub food by day to tourists and clear out the tables for the frat parties at night.

2) 2AM closing dump the "Club Sidewalk" onto the street at the same time, in the same locations, every single weekend. Not only do early closings cause binge drinking known as "catching up", but they also overwhelm both public transportation and taxis services. This predictably leads to violence, drunk roaming, drunk driving, and general nonsense. Allowing people to come and go as they please would thin the herd allowing police an easier time to deal with trouble makers or spots without the crowds. It also lets people to burn themselves out at their won rate.

3) Allowing more places to open, and relaxing closing rules (open late w/ a license? must also serve sit down food) would go a long way to decreasing Bostons reliance of Pub culture. Places would have to compete more on service, there'd be less of a barrier to opening, and thus more likelihood of innovation and offering something different.

It's already happening in other cities, and led to a lot less problems (outside of their club districts which is a whole nother can of worms). I'd give my right arm for a late night beer garden with good beer on tap and tasty food with a relaxed atmosphere that I don't have to scream over Journey playing for the 11th time. As of now there's very few options for that around here.

Disappointing it was all done

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Disappointing it was all done behind closed doors. What happened in Cambridge with Uber shows what happens when people find out about these things while they're still going on; state rep elections probably have low enough turnout that their opinions on these things can be pliable, given a few hundred calls. Try it more publicly next time, Walsh

I don't care how late other

I don't care how late other cities serve to, I still want to know who other than alcoholics and "because mom and dad can't tell me no" BU kids would with regularity want to stay out until 5 in the morning to drink.


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You must never go out.

There's more to club goers than just BU kids or boozers.

I don't drink often but I DO like to stay out later. Why? because I GO OUT LATER.

I know you don't care but you know.. in other cities, people start going out at midnight. Boston? 10pm. Lame.

I have friends in NYC who START their night at 1am..

Also, ever stop to think that club/bar goers would patronize MORE bars in one night? When I lived in Atlanta, we'd start at 11pm, and hit 2 or 3 bars before ending up at Backstreet (the 24 hour club (which is now closed)). Boston, if I go out at 1030, I'm lucky to hit 1 or two bars.

The only people who are opposed to this are people who don't go out anymore. Why not allow us folks who do to have some fun. We're not bothering you, so why must you force your opinions on something you clearly have no clue about.

I go out quite often, but am

I go out quite often, but am usually finished by midnight, unless a show runs later than it's 1am tops.

Those other cities can be massive, so you factor in distance and time to get to those other bars if you want to hop around.

and boston does not

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and boston does not? really?

I don't know about you but a (gulp) cab ride from DTX to Allston could take 30-45 minutes with the ride itself and flagging down a car and walking to the club. Your point is pretty invalid.

Gross, who would bother going

Gross, who would bother going to Alston to drink when there's so much better stuff in between and north and south? Unless of course there's a show at the paradise.


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Gross, who would bother going to Alston to drink when there's so much better stuff in between and north and south? Unless of course there's a show at the paradise.

I don't know who goes out

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I don't know who goes out drinking at all unless they are alcoholics.

Live the way I live or else leave my city.

You need

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To work on detecting sarcasm

Welcome to the city

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Where people do work 2nd and 3rd shifts. Where people do work weird hours and have flex time.

Put it another way, how much economic activity is being forgone by having no one using all that space 8-14 hours a day?

It's a chicken and egg sort of thing, but the more that's offered the more it becomes attractive to people who do work odd hours for businesses, and businesses see opportunities to make money at odd hours. It feeds on itself and suddenly you see a lot of "real" work happening at odd hours in addition to the night life and the service industry that supports it all.

That's more tax revenue, more people wanting to live here, and new income coming into the local economy. A side effect of having busy streets late at night is crime going down as well.

You want growth, you need to start offering a climate that the 24/7, international work/life force is growing to expect. It's exactly how we'll be able to attract entrepreneurs and new industries.


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Everyone knows that if you move closing time to 4 AM, then there's absolutely no way to move it back to 2 AM afterwards if anything does happen. You know, just like the fact that we can't get rid of the casinos now that we've said they can open.

If it causes problems and

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If it causes problems and there is an outcry, it can be reverted, like changing the drinking age to 18 got reverted. Or are you just worried that if you're in the minority, you won't be able to revert it nearly as easily as you can block it now?