Hearing on Proposed Liquor and Bar Changes in Hours Apr. 20

Photo by PoPville flickr user hellomarkers!

From Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham:

I am holding a public hearing on proposed changes to alcohol sales and taxes. The hearing will be on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 120 of the John A. Wilson Building.

We will take testimony on these matters:

Proposed by the Mayor – –

§ Allow beer, wine, and liquor stores to remain open until midnight (currently 10 p.m.)
§ Increase the sales tax on off premises alcohol sales from 9% to 10%

Proposed by the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration – –

§ Allow bars to sell alcohol beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Sundays (currently 10 a.m.)
§ Allow liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays.

These revenue enhancements will raise approximately $6.3 million for the city’s general fund in fiscal year 2012. The latter two proposals funding will go to support the police cost reimburseable program on weekends at the bars. The other proposals will be used as General Fund revenues.

Those wishing to testify should contact Mr. Benton Heimsath at [email protected] or at (202) 724-8191 by Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

Do you support or oppose the changes?

93 Comment

  • I live around enough liquor stores for this to make me nervous….oppose. Wish I could actually take off work to actually attend this hearing.

  • Support the tax. But oppose the hours. More access to liquor just leads to bad news.

  • The hours extension is a terrible idea – sorry Vince – maybe you should cut your own spending before you come up with ideas like these.

  • hours change is a bad, bad, bad idea. as a solidly experienced drinker i have to say that no one needs to be drinking at 8AM on sunday, nor is it ever a good thing to make that last-minute beer run at 11:59.

    liquor on sundays and increased tax on the other hand is fine.

    • is this really going to affect alcoholics, though? don’t they know enough to have it always on hand?

      I’ll defer to those of you social scientists who know best, but I, for one, would love to be able to buy a bottle of wine before heading out of town for a gathering. I also do my food shopping early and have often found that I can’t pick up beer with my groceries at 8.30am. plus, I tend to frequent bbqs on sundays in the summer and it’s horrible to stand in line at whole foods for 20 minutes just for some beer.

  • im all for the ability to buy a six pack or bottle of wine after 10pm. all for it.

    • +1. 10 pm cut off is pretty early on Friday or Saturday night. Don’t think anyone needs to drink at 8 am, but I assume this is in part to cater to international sporting event broadcasts?

  • Willing to accept the tax if the hours change. Otherwise not willing to accept the tax. Totally worth skipping work.

  • You know, not everyone in the world is a nine-to-five zombie. Some people work night shifts. Some people work long, long hours and really just love it when they finally get to the corner store so they can have one f*****g beer before bedtime after a twelve hour day but it’s closed thanks to people like the ones who comment here. Besides, aren’t all of you geriatrics in bed by ten anyway?

    • Yeah, I’m a 9-5 zombie but I’m often running around doing productive things in the evening. When I finally get around to wanting to settle in with a glass of wine it’s too late to get it.

  • YES. In favor of all of it. End the puritan tyranny! I don’t know who drinks at 8 am, but it’s not the place of these sily blue laws to stop them from doing so.

  • SUPPORT! Cmon guys, we’re not a red state with their “blue laws”, or at least we shouldn’t act like it.

    While we’re at it, make bar closing time 5 am

    • Actually, liberal New England is the region most associated with “blue laws”.

      • New England isn’t really that liberal once you go beyond the inner suburbs of Boston.

        • Right, RI, VT, and the Berkshires region of western MA, are totally not liberal at all… ummmm.

          Even the Republicans in New England are liberal. See Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe and Romneycare (looks strangely like the hc Obama passed).

        • bfinpetworth

          I’m a liberal and lived in Vermont for 6 years, and those people are so liberal I felt like Sarah Palin sometimes! Now, NH is more on the conservative or libertarian side generally.

  • I’m guessing the problem drunks have already bought all they need by 10pm, so extending hours to midnight is not going to increase drinking. BUT, it might increase hanging out — and we all know enforcement of loitering, noise laws, etc. is terrible.

    Tax increase is fine with me. Selling booze on Sunday fine with me. Allow restaurants to sell a drink at 8am on Sunday also fine. If I can drink at 8 am on Saturday, why not Sunday?

    Would there be a way to enact a law that prohibited sitting on the steps of a liquor store illegal at anytime? That would give the cops a way to easily move people along without having to prove they were actually drinking.

    • me

      “I’m guessing the problem drunks have already bought all they need by 10pm, so extending hours to midnight is not going to increase drinking. BUT, it might increase hanging out — and we all know enforcement of loitering, noise laws, etc. is terrible.”

      You nailed it.

  • Anon 2:07 here- just to let everyone know, hours of liquor sales used to be until midnight until bars lobbied to get it lowered so more people would drink at bars. And believe it or not, the drinking age used to be 18, as it is in the rest of the WORLD!

  • Raise the tax – we need the revenue.
    Hourse for beer and wine – midnight seems reasonable.
    As for 8am on a Sunday – I think 10am is fine and allow liqour stores to be open on Sunday.

  • I think that scheduling this hearing for 4/20 might result in some self-selection bias among those who show up to this.

  • Do the grocery stores still make you wait around to buy beer and wine until 10 a.m.? I know they used to, which drove me nuts as I used to get my shopping done early. Seemed perfectly stupid to me.

    • It’s 9am now… I had to wait around for a few minutes at Whole Foods earlier this week, when I stopped to get a bottle of wine on my way to work. (No, we’re not total lushes, it was a gift for one of my coworkers.)

      • +1 this is the exact ridiculousness I’m talking about.

        • Exactly. It’s annoying as hell when you’re going to a cookout on a Sunday, and you want to pick up provisions as soon as the grocery store opens, but you have to wait around ’til 9am if you want to pick up a sixer to take along.

        • I concur! I like to pick up beer and wine at the grocery store at 7:30 or 8 a.m. or whenever I’m there. Easier to get provision shopping done all at once. Though it doesn’t look like the proposals PoP posted would actually change that … ?

          • Guys…It’s not the grocery stores that are the problem – it’s the friggen liquor stores. Do any of you live in a place where people hang out in front of a liquor store ALL day? I do, here in Bloomingdale. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way better than the shootouts and drug wars we used to have just 10 years ago, but it’s very sad, leads to blight and gets friggen old.

            Nothing’s worse than your parents coming to visit and having some drunk a-hole taking a shit in your alley because he’s drunk off his ass and can’t frind a bathroom.

            I know most people probably don’t have these same issues, BUT for those of us that do (especially in our neighborhood), we gotta think of better ways to raise cash – like maybe not buying 25 fully loaded Escalades and hiring 20 of your friends and fam above the salary cap.

          • point taken, Chris. I guess I’d rather be inconvenienced on a Sunday than have people have to deal with this. however, there’s gotta be a middle ground.

          • Sorry, Chris, but that is a ridiculous argument. Perhaps other measures need to be taken to get rid of that problem, but the laws are not concerned with making you look better in front of your parents. You can complain to law enforcement, start a neighborhood organization, or whatever, but business should not be forced to close up shop once a week because you moved to a bad neighborhood.

          • Chris is right. For years and years, people have been lobbying against this problem. I’d be for later hours in Dupont or Logan, if their ANCs signed off on it. Not transitional neighborhoods.

            For a “bad” neighborhood, Bloomingdale has some expensive real estate: houses that cost up to $700k or $800k. It’s crazy how isolated some people are. Can’t imagine the guy just above gets out of his Georgetown, Dupont, Logan, or Capital Hill shell often if ever.

            Since the norm in DC is less affluent neighborhoods (that is, as affluent as B’dale or less), and the regulations should benefit the majority, then broad, citywide regulations should be according to the interests of Bloomingdale citizen’s — not Dupont’s. I’d love to have longer liquor selling hours, but the inevitable increase in crime is the price we’d have to be willing to bear as a result. I for one am not.

          • I am not sure what prices of the houses has to do with it. And if it’s about crime and loitering, etc, why are we talking about Sundays? If having liquor stores means loitering and crime, why not close them all?

  • Against nearly all of these provisions, unless they are accompanied by a real effort to enforce existing voluntary agreements, laws, and the ABRA stops allowing licenses for beer/wine stores and liquor stores in areas that are already highly saturated.

    As a heavy drinker, I find the current rules fine. I, however, also enjoy 1 day when people arent staggering between shelters and the corner and liquor stores. Those are the only people who win with this legislation, the folks who are too inebriated to remember the next day is Sunday and they need to stock up.

    Those are the facts. Happy that our council is owned and operated by the vendors and distributors of beer, wine, and spirits.

  • Hell yeaaaaa.
    Now I don’t have to catch the train all the way to Naylor road station to buy liquor after 10.

  • All for it. I somewhat see the potential loitering concern but it’s totally overridden by my loathing for blue laws. Not up to me to tell people when they can drink. Thanks for the history lesson too, Anon 2:09!

  • All for it. Increase bar hours till 4 am!

  • Voluntary agreements are a joke. They’re anything but voluntary. Should be called extortionary agreements

  • I think we should go the NYC route and make beer and wine available 24/7 with liquor available between 9am-midnight daily. Extend last call to 5am. Time for D.C. to get on the world class bandwagon.

    • HELL YES. If you run a city like it’s populated with nothing but drunk bums that have no self control you are not going to attract normal people.

      We may never be a real city but at least we can pretend to be a world class capital.

  • Why is it more dangerous to society to buy some whiskey at 12:01 AM than buying Whiskey at 9:30 PM? Why are there time restrictions at all? I bet crack dealers do more business when liquor stores are closed anyway.

    • Do you really think a crackhead ever thinks, “Man this Mad Dog is really hitting the spot. Maybe I’ll forgo the crack for now.”

      Crackheads never forgo the crack for now!

  • I don’t have a problem with this. If it raises revenue for the city, I say do it.

  • Seriously, those opposed to this have not posted one convincing reason. Extend the hours. Quit your whining.

  • I’m all for the proposed changes.

    As a european soccer fan, I occasionally find myself at a bar on sundays before 10am to watch a game. I don’t have to have a pint but seems reasonable.

  • all for it but only if we ban the sell of singles in Ward 1. that should help wit the problem drunks who pee on the street.

    • It’s illegal to pee on the street – why not actually enforce that law and bust the drunks, instead of slapping people like me who just want to buy a beer to have with their lunch.

      I’m all for the extensions, the solution to liquor store blight is to allow liquor sales in grocery and drug stores, along with the beer and wine. Why the hell not?

      • How do you propose enforcing public urination laws? A task force of epic proportions that descends on the alleys of DC — waiting like so many stalking jungle cats for someone to pull out their willy?

        Then again, maybe Lanier would sign off on a couple hundred new hires for Willy Watch, if we can get a couple ANCs behind it.

  • Do not extend liquor store hours, that will just attract more drunk people loitering outside.

    Allow liquor stores to be open on Sunday – Yes, makes no sense for them to be closed on a Sunday

    Extend bar hours etc.. yes, why not?

    But defeinitely not extend beer and wine sale hours at night or hours of operation for liquor stores. We do not want more drunk ppl sitting with their brown bags late at night. There are tons of liquor stores/grocery stores/convenience stores that sell alcohol in mt. pleasant. I dont even want to imagine how bad it could get if they are all selling booze till midnight


  • To all those who think extending hours would create more people sitting around and loitering all night:

    Do you think that reducing hours would somehow take them off the street? Perhaps if we reduced the hours enough there would be no “bums loitering”? There will always be people hanging around when the police don’t enforce the loitering laws. But trying to control law-abiding people’s buying choices through an iron fist approach only lessens our freedoms and punishes the customer. Cities all over the country have relaxed hours and blue laws and have seen no increase in crime.

    If you’re concerned about blight then perhaps you should support the stores in your community and simultaneously support the enforcement of the laws that lead to your perception of said blight.

    Booze doesn’t cause blight. Lack of police presence does.

  • I don’t understand what all the fuss is – alcohol is alcohol. If you can sell beer&wine on Sunday, why not liquor??

    • you are going to have to talk to the religious oracles who govern our social life time table to get the answer to that.

  • I can’t believe how many commenters are against extending the hours!

    point the first: I want to buy wine when I do my grocery shopping in the wee hours of sunday morning (I do my grocery shopping on sunday mornings because I am very very afraid of the yuppie hordes on Sunday afternoons)

    point the second: who the hell goes out before 10pm on a Saturday anyway? liquor stores closing early cause me to drink MORE. if a party starts at 10, you don’t want to arrive before 1030, but you need to pick up beer/wine before the party, so you go to the liquor store around 9:45 and end up going to pub and drinking MORE because you don’t want to be the awkward first guest. if liquor stores were open until midnight, I would save money, drink less and consume fewer calories. win win win!

  • The message from Graham states that the money from the latter 2 changes will go to “support the police cost reimburseable program on weekends at the bars.”

    Is anyone familiar with this program?

  • I’m for all of the changes.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I’m all for it. Hell, I even say make alcohol sales 24/7, let the bar/store/whatever decide when they want to stop.

  • but how ya’ll feeling about the online gambling in dc thing?
    i wonder if the corner liquor stores can cash in on that when it busts open.

  • What possible reason is there for opposing allowing sales on Sundays? Unless you’re a Christian fundamentalist and unless this is a theocracy (it’s a close call sometimes) this is a long overdue no-brainer.

  • Or you could just audit all the existing bars and you’d triple your tax income.

  • OPPOSE change in hours, especially Sunday liquor sales!!! Support tax increase. Honesty, I appreciate the tranquility provided by the Sunday closure. Not to see and be hassled by people with their single servings of malt liquor outside the store on a Sunday is worth more to me than the ability to buy more vodka for the occassional bloody mary sunday brunch where we run out.

    Perhaps if we changed the law and outlawed single serving sales, I’d have a change of heart.

    • We aren’t talking about people’s preferences, we are talking about the law. On what grounds can you justify them being legally mandated to close on Sundays?

Comments are closed.