State Agrees To Study McGinn Proposal To Extend Bar Hours

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has agreed to study Mayor Mike McGinn’s proposal for extending bar hours in Seattle.

In July, Mayor McGinn—backed by city council member Tim Burgess, city attorney Pete Holmes, and the Seattle Police Department—proposed extending bar times in Seattle, allowing bars to potentially stay open 24 hours a day.

Bars across the state are currently prohibited from selling alcohol between 2 am and 6am.

The move could potentially bring in $3 million in revenue for the city, and end the post-closing time crush on city streets in busy nightlife areas.

The liquor board will now begin examining how extending bar times has impacted public safety in other cities, whether the extended hours would create an increased need for more police and public transportation in nightlife areas, and will begin seeking input from law enforcement officials in jurisdictions outside of Seattle about potential impacts.

UPDATE: Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith says while the liquor board typically takes three to four months to examine potential rule changes, the WSLCB’s review of McGinn’s proposal could drag out a bit longer as the board “would potentially be looking at it from a statewide perspective.”

According to Smith, “the board’s going to want to look at…what kind of impact it’s had on public safety [in other cities] and what resources the city of Seattle will be using in to ensure public safety is not endangered in any way.”

Ultimately, Smith says, the board wants to know if changes to current bar regulations are “safer than the existing system.”

In other liquor news, the WSLCB is getting very close to issuing a ruling on another proposed rule change, which would finally allow bands to (legally) drink on stage while performing.

The WSLCB will vote on the proposal on October 26th

At a hearing today, a WSLCB staffer told the board she had received several letters of support for the rule change. A representative from the Washington Restaurant Association also spoke in favor of the rule change. WLSCB’s Smith says no one spoke in opposition.