The Best D.C. Bars Open 24 Hours for Inauguration
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Partying all weekend for Obama's inauguration? Here's where to go (open 24 hours!)
Where to drink (for 24-7!) in Washington D.C. for the inauguration.
Inauguration weekend is upon us — and it's time to party. (Or drink away your sorrows, depending how you voted, but we digress.) This week, The Washington Post shares, more than 150 bars and restaurants will be open 24-7 (with bar service ending at 4 a.m.). That's a big change from the inauguration in 2009, where bars were open until 4 a.m.
Click here for the 9 Best Bars Open 24 Hours for the Inauguration Slideshow
That means that the city isn't just the stage to political history, as President Obama is sworn in once more — it's one gigantic party. But instead of wading through the ginormous list provided by The Washington Post, we share our picks the bars where we want to spend inauguration weekend.
Our list includes a range of vibes, depending on how you want your inauguration weekend to go. Need to literally dance for joy for President Obama's reelection? Josephine's and Ultrabar are the go-to nightclubs on the list. Want to toast a cheap beer to Obama? Trusty's is the place to be (with insanely affordable draughts, plus board games). Want to feel like a true political powerhouse? Head to two of the three best political bars on our 150 Best Bars in America, Round Robin Bar at Willard InterContinental and Old Ebbitt Grill. Check out our picks of the inauguration late-night bars, and start planning now.
22 Best 24-hour Restaurants in Las Vegas
There's something to suit every palate in Las Vegas. Options range from classic diners to upscale hotel restaurants serving almost every sort of international cuisine imaginable. As you might expect, the majority of these restaurants are conveniently open 24/7. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
Recommended airports are Washington National (KDCA), Washington Dulles (KIAD) and Baltimore Washington (KBWI). Both KIAD and KBWI operate 24 hours, but KDCA is only active 0630-2200 local. All three are Airports of Entry (AOEs.) For international arrivals, customs must be notified prior to flight. General Aviation (GA) operations to KDCA are only possible for pre-approved operators with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security program clearances. Drive time from KDCA, KIAD and KBWI to central Washington, D.C., is approximately 30, 45 and 60 minutes, respectively.
Aircraft parking is not expected to be an issue for operations into any of the Washington, D.C.-area airports. The upcoming inauguration ceremony, and a week of related festivities, is expected to draw less GA activity than the 2009 inauguration.
More Inauguration Revelry = More Cops? The Mayor (and Chief) Speaks
Might the D.C. Council's decision to keep bars and nightclubs open 24 hours a day during Inauguration weekend mean more cops hitting the streets to keep late-night partygoers in line?
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier reluctantly shared some reaction to the emergency legislation at a morning press conference at police headquarters, convened to announce arrests in a homicide case. Lanier was asked a few times what the extended bar hours would mean for police deployment from Jan. 17-21. (Partygoers will be able to drink until 5 a.m. instead of the normal bar closing time of 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends). Each time she got asked about it, Fenty stepped to the microphone to answer.
"Our job is to administer the laws, and we will do that in this case," the mayor said, who added that he would sign the legislation.
Chief, what do you think of the legislation?
"Our thoughts," Fenty said, "are the Council of the District of Columbia were presented with all the facts in front of them," and voted "in the best interest of the people of the District of Columbia."
Chief, will the legislation mean any extra police deployments?
"The Metropolitan Police Department," the mayor said, "has a lot to deal with just in the normal operation of nightclubs, so that any extention of hours beyond what they normally do is obviously going to require more manpower and more hard work."
The police department, "is more than up to the task," Fenty said
But the topic just wouldn't die down. And so Lanier finally spoke.
"Obviously the Metropolitan Police Department steps up when they need to step up and handles their business," she said. "We will do what we need to do and we will make sure that the city is safe."
-- Theola Labbé-DeBose and Paul Duggan
By Theola Labbé-DeBose | December 3, 2008 1:42 PM ET
Categories: Affordable Housing , Browse By Writer , Crime and Public Safety , Inauguration , Mayor Fenty , Theola Labbé-DeBose
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Eats Before the Inauguration
Eight days out and restaurant plans for the inauguration are still in flux. Transportation hassles are hindering both staffing and deliveries at locations near the parade route, but many nearby restaurants plan to open early for breakfast or extend lunch hours so you can eat after the parade. We gave you a shorter version of this list in November, but here's an updated rundown of what's open for eats.
For the record, the area of Penn Quarter shown in red on this map will be closed to the public between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. for a security sweep, according to Karyn LeBlanc of the D.C. Department of Transportation. Pedestrians cannot enter the area until after the sweep is complete.
First, some of the highlights:
"We're going crazy," said Spike Mendholson of Good Stuff Eatery. Starting at 7 a.m., the restaurant will offer special breakfast sandwiches to early birds. At lunch, it's offering a streamlined version of the menu -- to help the lunch line move faster -- and to-go bags for those on the move.
On the same block, Tune Inn will open at 6:30 a.m. for coffee service. Breakfast service starts at 7 a.m. and the booze starts flowing at 8 a.m.
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, home of a shockingly good burger, opens at 8 a.m. on Inauguration Day. Chefs are working to develop a limited breakfast menu.
Proof could be a good bet for a more upscale meal. From 10 a.m. until 2:30 a.m., the restaurant offers a $75 buffet brunch that includes unlimited champage. The festivities will be shown on four flat-screens.
Jose Andres's restaurants are also getting in on the Inauguration action. Cafe Atlantico, Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya open at 8 a.m. on Jan. 20 for brunch. During lunch and dinner service from January 19 through 22, the restaurants will offer three-course, fixed-price menus. The cost is $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner at Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya. Cafe Atlantico's menu is $25 for lunch and $44 for dinner.
The following list is a sampling of other nearby restaurants that will be open on Jan. 20. The hours printed here are accurate as of today, but many restaurants are looking to expand operating hours.
Breakfast and Lunch
Art Gallery Bar and Grille (Open 24 hours a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner [added to this list on Jan. 15]
Bistro Bis (Buffet and a la carte menus for breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. reservations recommended)
Co Co. Sala (Opens at 8 a.m.)
Ebenezers Coffeehouse (Opens at 8 a.m. The shop's deliveries have been suspended that day, so it won't serve lunch. Hot drinks and limited pastries will be available.)
Peregrine Espresso (Opens at 7 a.m. for breakfast: pastries, coffee and tea.)
Pete's Diner & Carryout (Opens at 5 a.m.)
Poste (Opens at 9:30 a.m. for breakfast. The bar will be open for food service during the break between lunch and dinner.)
Pour House (Opens at 9 a.m. Limited menu.)
Red Velvet Cupcakery (Applied for 24-hour permit will be open from at least 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. if the 24-hour permit doesn't come through.)
Sonoma (Serving brunch from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Dinner to follow at 5) [added to this list on Jan. 19]
Tangysweet (Applied for 24-hour permit will be open from at least 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. if the 24-hour permit doesn't come through.)
Teaism (Opens at 7:30 a.m.)
Tortilla Coast (Opens at 8 a.m.)
Asia Nine (Opens at 11 a.m.)
B.L.T. Steak (Opens at 11:30 a.m.)
Bombay Club (Opens at 11:30 a.m., reservations currently available)
Ella's (Opens at 11 a.m., may open earlier)
Locanda (Opens at 11:30 a.m.)
La Loma (Opens at 11:30 a.m.)
Mio (Opens at 11:30 a.m.)
Mitsitam (Limited menu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., full menu after 11 a.m.)
The Oval Room (Opens at 11:30 a.m., reservations currently available)
Rasika (Opens at 11:30 a.m., reservations currently available)
Rosa Mexicano (Opens at 11:30 a.m.)
Sonoma (Lunch reservations are filling up fast, but still available)
The Source (Opens at 11:30. Unlike a typical Tuesday, the bar will remain open between 2 and 5 p.m., serving the lounge menu and drinks.)
For more info on Inauguration Day eats, check out our post about takeout options near the Mall and Barack Obama-themed cocktails.
Riding the Bus in Washington, D.C.'s Suburbs
If you venture out of the city limits, there are bus lines to know about besides Metrobus.
- ART-Arlington Transit: ART is a bus system that operates within Arlington County, Virginia and provides access to the Crystal City Metro station and VRE. The Metroway bus line travels from the Braddock Road Metro station in Alexandria to Pentagon City, with stops in Potomac Yard and Crystal City.
- City of Fairfax CUE: The CUE bus system provides public transportation within the City of Fairfax, to George Mason University, and to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metrorail Station.
- DASH (Alexandria): The DASH bus system provides service within the City of Alexandria, and connects with Metrobus, Metrorail, and VRE.
- Fairfax Connector: The Fairfax Connector is the local bus system for Fairfax County, Virginia connecting to Metrorail.
- Loudoun County Commuter Bus: The Loudoun County Connector is a commuter bus service providing transportation to park and ride lots in Northern Virginia during rush hour, Monday through Friday. Destinations include West Falls Church Metro, Rosslyn, the Pentagon, and Washington, D.C. Loudoun County Connector also provides transportation from West Falls Church Metro to Eastern Loudoun County.
- OmniRide (Northern Virginia): OmniRide is a commuter bus service providing transportation Monday through Friday from locations throughout Prince William County to Metro stations of Northern Virginia and to downtown Washington, D.C. OmniRide connects (from the Woodbridge area) to the Franconia-Springfield station and (from the Woodbridge and Manassas areas) to the Tysons Corner station.
- Ride On (Montgomery County): Ride On buses serve Montgomery County, Maryland and connect to the Metro’s red line. TheBus provides public transportation along 28 routes in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
The 15 Best 24-Hour Places in Saint Petersburg
/> Vickie Hickman: Beautiful new building since I was there last. Audio tour was great. Amazing pieces in there. Nice gift store.
/> TIME: This museum houses the world's most comprehensive collection of the renowned Spanish artist's work, with a permanent collection of 96 oil paintings spanning the years from 1917 to 1970.
/> Erin Parke: USF students get free admission with student ID. Beware of people walking backwards to look at the Abraham Lincoln painting- they will walk into you.
The fall season is one of the best times to explore the city on foot and enjoy a wide range of activities. As the leaves begin to change, Washington D,C, becomes a wonderful place to enjoy fall foliage and outdoor recreation
- Celebrate the neighborhood of Adams Morgan at Adams Morgan Day, the longest running neighborhood festival in Washington D.C.
- Meet award-winning authors at the Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is a bibliophile's dream.
The Best Tiki Bars in America
Soak up those tropical island vibes anytime at these Polynesian-inspired bars serving their own refreshing takes on classic tiki cocktails like mai tais, zombies and more.
Photo By: Lara Ferroni ©2013 Lara Ferroni Photography
Photo By: Anjali M. PInto ©Lettuce Entertain You Inc
Photo By: Natalie B. Compton
Photo By: Christopher DeVargas ©2013
Portland, Oregon: Hale Pele
Add a few theatrics to the tiki experience with a visit to this Portland bar, where ordering a flaming Volcano Bowl cocktail cues a few of the booths to rumble. There is also an occasional thunder-and-lightening experience that happens throughout the evening, not to mention the colorful puffer fish lights that dot the ceiling. But despite all that, it&rsquos the strong menu of drinks that keeps people coming back. Classics that pay homage to other famous tiki bars, and island-inspired small plates like Hawaiian bread and weebimbap, enhance the experience. Those worried about a few too many can order based on strength, thanks to a numbered legend by each drink.
New Orleans: Latitude 29
If credit could be given to someone for helping to resurrect the tiki movement, Jeff &ldquoBeachbum&rdquo Berry would likely receive many nods. Berry has resurfaced many &ldquolost&rdquo tiki drink recipes, created a tiki app and, most recently, opened one of New Orleans&rsquo hottest bars, naturally one that specializes in tiki drinks. The menu features many of the unearthed recipes, including the blended cinnamon-rum Nui Nui, along with Berry&rsquos own takes on the classics there's also a menu of playful cuisine, including a dumpling burger, a mahi mahi banh mi and chocolate-dipped wontons.
Chicago: Three Dots and a Dash
Named for a popular drink from Don the Beachcomber in the 1940s, this River North bar helped ignite Chicago&rsquos passion for all things tiki. The space is like escaping to an underground Polynesian haven: Walking down the stairs, guests are instantly transported to an upscale tiki hut decorated with hand-carved tiki totems, bamboo walls and Hawaiian-print-clad servers. In addition to the classic, modern and large-format drinks &mdash many sparked with flames, oozing smoke or garnished with creative touches like a banana dolphin &mdash the bar offers rotating specials, nearly all served in namesake vessels, like porcelain sea anemones or giant treasure chests. There's even a bar within the bar: The Bamboo Room is an exclusive reservations-based lair, offering progressive rum tastings, unique cocktails and a true in-the-know tiki experience.
San Diego: False Idol
Tucked within Craft & Commerce, this hidden tiki getaway, has drawn from the best of tiki: the expertise of Martin Cate, the design of renowned tiki artist Bosko Hrnjak and designer Ignacio &ldquoNotch&rdquo Gonzalez. CH projects has stocked the bar of this Little Italy bar with over 350 rare and vintage rums. Their cocktail list includes the classics, and their own riffs like the Enigma de Muerte &ndash inspired by the Demerara Dry Float made with unaged tequila, passionfruit, a heavy dose of lime and maraschino served with a 'side of danger' aka mezcal.
Washington, D.C.: Archipelago
Fruity drinks aren't all frills at this U Street tiki temple. The bar comes from a team of bartenders who've handled the drinks programs at some of the city's best spots, including Rose's Luxury, Bar Pilar and locations from Jose Andres' ThinkFoodGroup. Here, spirited hula-girl lamps and Tom Selleck memorabilia set the scene for island-inspired cocktails made from fresh-squeezed juices and quality rums. Drinks are served in kitsch vessels (all available for sale) like large blue parrots and shrunken green heads, garnished in creative fashion with classic orchids, orange suns, bendy straws and banana octopi. As for the drinks themselves, there&rsquos a frozen Pina Colada, a revamped Banana Daiquiri, a classic Mai Tai and originals like the Lonely Mermaid, a blend of rums, lemon and buttered pineapple syrup. The concise food menu includes sliders, Chinese-barbecue nachos and a Cubano.
Chicago: Lost Lake
Modeled after the aesthetics of the original Don&rsquos Beachcomber Cafe, this Chicago getaway is helmed by Chicago cocktail aficionado Paul McGee. Tropical vibes fill the space with banana leaf wallpaper, bartenders in Hawaiian-themed garb, and drinks dressed with fresh orchids and funky swizzle sticks. The cocktails, with colorful names like Curative Vibrations and Ruby May&rsquos Second Surfin&rsquo Bird, pack a punch, so the restaurant group opened Thank You, an American-Chinese takeout window that will deliver straight to the bar to help soak up those sweet spirits.
New York City: Mother of Pearl
A bright and tropical escape in the heart of the East Village, this Manhattan tiki bar incorporates palm tree accents into most design elements. The cocktails borrow from classics in clever ways for drinks like the Tiki Peat, an almond-infused Scotch cocktail. Bring a group for punches. The food leans vegetarian, including watermelon poke, jackfruit bahn mi and stuffed churros for dessert.
Minneapolis: Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
The massive Psycho Suzi&rsquos Motor Lounge takes over two waterfront floors with four themed bars and two patios, making it easy for anyone in Minneapolis to get lost in paradise, and hard to have the same experience twice. Cocktails are dated to inform drinkers of when they were created. Balance something old-school like a classic 1944 Mai Tai with another round that&rsquos a bit more modern, like the Psycho Zombie (2010), a rum-soaked slushie made with cherry, lime or cola.
Tulsa: The Saturn Room
This tiki bar in the Brady Arts district has a patio that overlooks the whole city. When the weather allows, the Saturn Room even has a &ldquoswim up&rdquo window where visitors can walk up to a window and get a drink like a macadamia nut Chi Chi or one of their house cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices and homemade syrups. In keeping with the aquatic theme, puffer fish lights are scattered throughout the space as are giant fishing nets. Pick up one of their unique mugs &ndash the Golden Driller is a nod to the Golden Oil driller statue in town.
Los Angeles: Tiki Ti
This half-century-old tiki bar has been passed down through one family since 1961. Ray Buhen was known as one of the greatest exotic-drink mixologists at Don the Beachcomber&rsquos Cafe and elsewhere before opening Tiki Ti, which is now run by his son and grandson. One of the last standing tiki bars from back in the day, this bar is the place to sample sippers that taste almost identical to the originals. Sip on a Zombie &mdash made with a secret combination of rums &mdash while perusing the plethora of tropical tchotchkes from visitors throughout the years.
Detroit: Mutiny Bar
The Motor City&rsquos only tiki bar, Mutiny Bar serves serious island vibes and a heavy dose of rum. The spot is a bring-your-own-food joint, which you&rsquoll want in order to better soak up classics like the Painkiller made with rum, coconut, lime, orange and pineapple. Expect all the beloved tiki theatrics &ndash kitschy mugs, flaming drinks and colorful twisty straws.
Washington D.C.: Tiki TNT
This three-story tiki temple sits right on the Potomac but differs in a few ways from a typical tiki experience. Sure you&rsquoll find technicolor cocktails, funky furniture and plenty of bamboo, but you&rsquoll also find rum made in-house by Potomac Distilling Company. The entire project comes from local spirits legend Todd Thrasher, who creates four distilled rums, which he serves in delightful concoctions at his scuba-focused tiki bar. You&rsquoll also find a food menu of Polynesian hits created by chef friends like Erik Bruner-Yang and Bryan Voltaggio. Thrasher also lends his tiki mug collection to the venture, so don&rsquot be surprised if you&rsquore sipping a Zombie out of one.
New York: The Polynesian
This modern ode to tiki culture is helmed by self-proclaimed pirate and acclaimed bartender Brian Miller. The Polynesian&rsquos concoctions use fresh juices and top-shelf spirits. The Vaya Kon Tiki mixes coconut rooibos tea-infused rums, a spicy cayenne-coconut cream, ginger, cinnamon, and tropical juice, all topped with a flaming piece of citrus and served in a custom skull mug.
To climb aboard this 19th century clipper ship, you&rsquoll have to walk through Sip Coffee and Beer Garage and descend underground (via the stairs). Upon entry you&rsquoll be greeted with large tiki idols adorning the bar and plenty of shipwrecked fun &ndash even portholes to peer through. Cocktail menus come in chapters here with tantalizing tales of tiki lore surrounding selections like Fare the Cape made with yerba mate-infused cachaça, aged agricola rhum and flavors of apricot, ginger and mint, finished with lemon and soda.
San Francisco: Last Rites
Be prepared to feel stranded in the jungle the minute you leave the bustling San Fran streets for a stool at Last Rites. Airplane fuselage is turned into the back bar and airplane seats are repurposed as bar stools as dense jungle foliage covers stone booths and the lights flicker on and off. Ease your fears with cocktails like the Lover&rsquos Quarrel with white rum and an overproofed rum blend, corn whiskey, grapefruit, lime, passion fruit shrub and coconut cream all served in a giant coconut and lit on fire.
Indianapolis: Inferno Room
Enter at your own risk &ndash Inferno Room isn&rsquot a cheesy tiki bar, but one that has collected real tiki artifacts &ndash so you may even see a shrunken head or a few skulls lying around. In fact, they host one of the largest collections of décor and artifacts from Papua New Guinea outside of a museum. The cocktails harken back to yesteryear with many created by the legendary tiki masters &ndash including Indiana&rsquos Stephen Crane &mdash and others borrowed from tiki bars and bartenders across the country. Pair rum-filled drinks like the lemongrass daiquiri with unique dishes like yucca nachos or yam kebobs.
Alameda, California: Forbidden Island
Michael Thanos and Martin Cate yearned for an era of tiki they couldn&rsquot find in 2006, so they created it themselves. The result was Forbidden Island, a tiki bar of yesteryear &ndash one that recreated the mythical Polynesian bars that were so popular in the 1950&rsquos and 1960&rsquos. All of the mood lighting and puffer fish, a free-play juke box with era-appropriate tiki soundtracks, and beloved cocktails like the hurricane and the large-format scorpion bowl. The juices are all fresh-squeezed and syrups house-made, of course. Their mug program is huge, with well-known tiki designers creating highly sought-after limited-edition mugs.
Las Vegas: Golden Tiki
This tiki bar sticks to the classics when it comes to drinks and design, but the bar shows its true Vegas style with over-the-top accents, including a talking animatronic skeleton, a secret back door, video casino games, and a calendar packed with DJs and live entertainment. Also in typical fashion, the bar is open 24 hours a day, meaning it's tiki time anytime. The cocktails range from tried-and-true classics to creative selections like a classic Martinique Ti cocktail (rum, cane syrup, lime juice) made tableside. Barrel-aged and infused options are also available.
Kansas City: Tiki Cat
It isn&rsquot easy to find this tiki-inspired speakeasy. Located in the basement of craft beer bar Hopcat, the only way to enter Tiki Cat is to find the door behind the bamboo wall. The intimate space is made up of retro huts with cool vintage furniture and shag carpet all designed by tiki expert &ldquoBamboo&rdquo Ben Bassham. The cocktails &ndash with all of the juices and syrups made on site &ndash range from the classics like the Painkiller with fresh coconut cream, fresh squeezed pineapple juice and orange juice, fresh-grated nutmeg and plenty of rum, to more creative cocktails like the Cat Bird Seat made with three types of rum, blackberry brandy, fresh lemon and lime juice, orange Curacao, demerara syrup, and orange bitters.
Cleveland: Porco Lounge and Tiki Room
Tropical drinks and Polynesian vibes offer a welcome escape from the Midwest&rsquos brutal winters. Many of the decorative accents were salvaged from the bars of yesteryear, including outrigger canoes and a tiki statue from Cleveland&rsquos Kon Tiki (which closed in &rsquo76), as well as chairs from Detroit&rsquos Chin Tiki (which closed in &lsquo80). The drinks are equally classic and take no shortcuts. Bartenders schooled in each drink&rsquos history make the libations with fresh juices and housemade syrups for customers.
Photo courtesy of Gus Chan
Arlington, Texas: 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge
Four friends (aka 4 Kahunas) with a love for tiki opened this island escape deep in the heart of Texas. Using housemade juices and handcrafted syrups, they developed a menu that pays homage to classic tiki drinks and incorporates new creations like the Canadian Castaway made with Canadian whisky, imported maple syrup and housemade falernum syrup. The décor is eclectic, with a nod to Texas-bred Tiki artists.
With plenty of shareable cocktails and classics with a twist, like the Adrift Old Fashioned with single-barrel rum, bourbon, espresso, coconut and angostura bitters, bar goers can relax while staring up at 70-year-old, hand-carved totems as a centerpiece of the bar. Don&rsquot bypass the food &mdash the South Broadway locale is known for their Polynesian fare as well, including guava barbecue baby back ribs, pu pu platers and spicy Hawaiian chile shrimp.
San Francisco: Smuggler’s Cove
No pirate could rival the rum affections of Martin Cate. Boasting a collection of nearly 600 rums &mdash many of them rare and vintage &mdash Cate has turned his Fillmore bar into one of the best destinations for rum in the world. Fittingly, entering the bar feels like walking into a scene of a pirate&rsquos shipwreck, with dim lighting and nautical accents, including rope, wooden planks and barrels, throughout the intimate space. The menu is packed with more than 70 rum-filled concoctions, including the flaming Volcano and Scorpion bowls.
Photo courtesy of Allison Webber
When Milwaukeeans want a mai tai, they head for this tiny, kitsch-packed tropical oasis, where the classic orgeat-rum-juice concoction is the house specialty. The shelves are packed with an inspiring amount of nautical bounty, including scavenged shells, nets and an aquarium of fish. Many of the drinks &mdash Pirate&rsquos Grog, Polynesian &mdash are served in funky tiki-style glasses that can be taken home at the end of the night. Food isn&rsquot served in the bar, but guests can order in from elsewhere. Owner Don Nelson does an excellent job of planting a taste of the tropics in the Midwest, saying it&rsquos his job to &ldquobring the traditions of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic to the people of Milwaukee.&rdquo
D.C. toasts Obama with 5 a.m. last call
Hoping to tap in to an inaugural bonanza, the D.C. Council Tuesday night voted in favor of extending last call to 5 a.m. and allow bars and restaurants to serve food around the clock during inauguration week.
Millions of visitors are expected to descend on the city to celebrate Barack Obama’s presidential swearing-in on Jan. 20. The council hopes to accommodate the throng by allowing licensed restaurants and taverns to serve drinks later and to keep their doors open 24 hours a day for the whole week.
At the request of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, the legislation excluded nightclubs, which would have had to continue observing the current closing hour of 2 a.m. However, council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, moved after the vote to remove the nightclub exclusion from the bill, and his amendment carried 8-5.
Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, who introduced the bill, said the measure will allow the city’s entertainment industry to “engage fully” in inauguration week, which includes Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 19.
Mr. Graham said the measure also will encourage celebrations that are safely indoors. He pointed to the boisterous revelers on election night as an example for the city to try to avoid.
“On election night there were just throngs of people who were pouring into the street, and I think people may be safer celebrating inside than be wandering the streets,” he said.
Council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, was the only dissenting voice. He noted that robberies and assaults often occur after last call, and police will not have extra manpower on hand at 5 a.m. Incidents of driving under the influence are also likely to increase, he said.
“Sure, it’s good for business, but that is not the reason we should be doing this,” he said.
Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, a Democrat, said at a press conference on Monday that the bill would allow the city to cash in on a lot of extra revenue.
“It’s not a principal factor behind the legislation, but given these economic times it is a factor,” he said. “There are certainly concerns regarding city revenue, and with the inauguration there’s definitely a lot to be had,” he said.
City officials said that such an extension is unprecedented for an inauguration, but that it does not seriously affect plans the city has in place.
Cynthia Simms, spokeswoman for the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration, said the city has not extended last call for previous inaugurations, but that the District allows licensed establishments to serve drinks until 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
“I can’t speculate on how many people are going to be out that week, but it doesn’t look like it will be on a small scale,” she said.
Local bars and restaurants are salivating at the thought of serving customers for extended hours.
“I think it is a great idea,” said Gavin Coleman, general manager of the Dubliner, an Irish tavern on Capitol Hill. “Given the [inauguration’s] historic nature, I think extending the hours would be beneficial for all the visitors and the bars as well.”
Neighborhood Advisory Commissioner Nancy Shia, who represents the bar-heavy Adams Morgan neighborhood, is unhappy with the legislation.
“I don’t see why they have to increase the sale of alcohol. Alcohol makes chaos. That means that the businesses will make a lot of money but the city will have to pay for all the police and there will be more DUIs,” she said.