Anchorage Bars to Stay Open Until 4am

Photo from Google Street View.
Photo from Google Street View.

The Anchorage Assembly has passed an ordinance allowing Anchorage bars to stay open an hour later. But they won’t be able to serve alcohol that extra hour. The ordinance is aimed at reducing problems downtown at closing time.

Assembly Member Patrick Flynn first proposed an ordinance to address the problems associated with patrons crowding onto the street at closing time, back in December. He was pushing for downtown bars to stop serving alcohol an hour earlier – at 2 a.m., rather than 3, in hopes it would allow people to filter out rather than flood into the streets. Some bar owners didn’t like that idea, saying it was punitive, because it just applied to downtown bars. So Assembly members Dick Traini and Adam Trombly proposed a new version, which was approved.

Patrick Flynn“What was approved was a little bit different in that it didn’t change the hours of service and it maintained the hours of consumption, but it did allow bars to stay open for one extra hour, if they opt in and it’s city wide not just downtown specific. But it does retain the restriction that all consumption has to be concluded by 3 o’clock and it’s only on Fridays and Saturdays,” Flynn explained.

Sylvia Villamides, is the Director of Anchorage CHARR, the Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association. She testified before the Assembly about the ordinance. She says allowing bars to stay open for the extra hour will make Anchorage safer.

“This safety hour is for our patrons to have a place safe to wait for a ride home or a taxi cab. You won’t have the influx of people leaving all at one time,” Villamides said.

The ordinance is city-wide. It was adopted on a trial basis and sunsets in 1 year. Bars will have to apply for a permit to stay open the extra hour. It will cost $100.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.