In July Mayor Mike McGinn introduced his nightlife initiative, an ambitious eight-point plan that aimed to dramatically reshape the way Seattle got its drink on. The most ambitious part of the plan? More time to booze! Or, translated in more serious language, a proposal to extend or stagger bar hours past the current last call of 2 a.m., an idea McGinn has floated since the later days of his candidacy. Back in the summer, McGinn said that "this is the start of a process, not the end of a process." Now we have an idea of when that end might come.
The Mayor's office has to make that proposal to the LCB because it's the LCB and the LCB only that has the power to change the rules. A power that, based on an e-mail from LCB spokesperson Brad Smith, it seems unlikely to use.
"A representative of the mayor's office met with staff from our agency several months ago," writes Smith. "LCB staff also told the nightlife association around a year ago that the Board's position on later hours was that the research they had seen was that staggered or extended bar hours wasn't necessarily safer than the existing system. If there was evidence that staggered or extended bar hours was safer, the Board asked that they bring a proposal forward for consideration. Thus far, no one from the nightlife association or the Mayor's Office has brought new evidence forward to the Board."
Pickus says that's exactly what the mayor's office will bring to the board in January. "That's what the proposal being developed, in part, will focus on," he writes. But it isn't clear if that new evidence will be compelling enough.
As alluded to in Smith's e-mail, the mayor's initiative mirrors one brought last year before the LCB by the Nightlife and Music Association, who were big supporters of McGinn's campaign. Earlier this morning, nightlife impresario and NMA member Dave Meinert hinted that McGinn's proposal may go even further.
Via Twitter: "big meeting today with State and local politicians about extended drinking hours. Soon no closing times. Safer, better liquor policy."
We've been playing phone tag with Meinert all afternoon. We'll let you know what he says once we finally pin him down.