Extended bar hours meet with limited success

By Ken Goze and Jim Tubridy

Extended bar hours on Thursday nights have met with limited success for local bars.

Since the extension allowing bars to stay open until 2 a.m. Friday, March 7 began, bar owners report more business and no increase in problems such as fights or vandalism.

DeKalb Police Lt. Ralph Leiser said Spring Break and Easter cut down on taverns’ business, but said there’s been “no problems up to this point.”

Local bar owners and managers agree it’s too early to tell but report varying degrees of success.

Mark Thompson, owner of Lord Stanley’s Bar and Grill, 142 E. Lincoln Hwy., reports no substantial increase in business and said the only problem he’s had with the longer hours is that he loses “another hour of sleep.”

Sean Thrower, manager of Molly’s Eatery and Drinkery, 1022 W. Lincoln Hwy., said “The extra hour helps out after the 2 percent increase in the liquor tax.”

Pat Schaller, manager of McCabe’s, 323 E. Lincoln Hwy., said the extended hours help “tremendously.”

Schaller describes McCabe’s and Amnesia, 1000 W. Lincoln Hwy., as “late bars” and said the extension allows people to spend more money.

However, opposition to the extra hour did not die with its passage.

Greg Olson, a member of the DeKalb County Partnership for a Substance Free Environment, said the group sees the extension as a step backward for abuse-prevention efforts.

“We’re not some radical group on an abolitionist kick. We just want to see responsible use. I would contend that there are very few people who decide to go out for a beer at one in the morning,” Olson said.