A new law that passed with unanimous support in the state House and Senate late last month would help bar-crawlers do just that.
The bill, which must be signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm before taking effect, allows bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to apply for a special permit that would extend the time when they must stop providing entertainment to 4 a.m. from 2:30 a.m.
The bill would not push back the current 2 a.m. cutoff time when bars must stop selling alcohol.
The bill’s intent is to give businesses the option of remaining open later and to encourage bar patrons to sober up before heading home, said Peter Langley, spokesman for state Rep. Alan Sanborn (R-Richmond).
The Michigan Restaurant Association suggested the legislation to state Rep. Jerry Kooiman (R-Grand Rapids), who introduced the bill in May, said Andy Deloney, a spokesman for the group.
“I haven’t heard from anyone who’s opposed to the bill,” he said. He added that Mothers Against Drunk Driving also supports the bill.
LSA seniors A.J. Klenk and Nick Stieber said they would take advantage of the later closing times. Both said they saw no problem staying out later as long as they were having a good time, but they “wouldn’t stay ’til four,” according to Stieber.
LSA senior Sunanda Naire complained of the 2 a.m. rush, when all patrons leave the bars after they stop serving drinks.
“They cut you off, and they shove everyone out,” Naire said. She said extended hours would alleviate the rush and give people time to sober up.
“Possibly, drunk driving could be curbed,” she said.
While some local nightspots would stay open until 4 a.m., others say the risks outweigh the potential gains.
Francisco Gomez, general manager of The Brown Jug, said the South University Avenue bar and restaurant will consider applying for the new permit.
“I definitely think people will stick around,” he said.
The Necto nightclub is also considering extending its hours, according to general manager Scot Greig.
“I’m all for people being able to stay out past two o’clock,” he said. “People could take their time leaving the club.”
But not all Ann Arbor nightspots are enthusiastic about the permits.
Tony Lavigne, manager of the South University Avenue establishment Good Time Charley’s, said the restaurant would probably not extend its hours, explaining that the vast majority of the problems that occur at Charley’s happen after 2 a.m.
Lavigne attributed the conflicts to the younger crowd that Charley’s attracts.
“The younger you are, the less you (can) handle alcohol,” he said.