Alex Wan: Outlook bleak for extended bar hours

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Gay bar owners want longer hours to pour drinks. Gay nightlifers want more time — and Sundays — to down their cocktails. And of course the likes of Peggy Denby and her stuffy neighbors will fight like hell to keep that from happening. Alex Wan has no appetite to change that reality.

That’s the message the gay Atlanta City Council member delivered to the gay business owners of Gay Retail, Entertainment & Tourism Atlanta on Tuesday. It’s similar to one he delivered to the same group in November 2010 when it was called the Bar Owner’s Association.

Fenuxe delivered a takedown of Tuesday’s meeting.

“Definitely not within the next 12 months,” Wan, who is gay and represents District 6, home to many gay bars in Midtown and along Cheshire Bridge Road, said about Sunday bar sales. “There is no appetite [among city council members], and part of it is that no one wants to touch that going into an election year.”

“This is where the neighborhoods are very well organized and know how to raise enough objections on the right issues to prevent that from happening,” Wan said. “What they’re going to play is the public safety situation, and that extending the bar hours can only make the crime worse. That’s the argument that they’re going to put forward and it’s going to be hard to argue that, or convince [people] with the right soundbites to overcome that.”

So those glory days of 4 a.m. bar closings and 24-hour clubs like Backstreet? They will remain just that – wistful memories of a gay-goes-later past that’s unlikely to change.

But hey, at least credit Wan with spearheading the effort to allow voters in the City of Atlanta to decide they want to buy beer and wine in retail outlets on Sundays. So, can we move on to banning smoking in bars?

Photo by Lea Bennett Photography


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