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The effort to allow Seattle bars and clubs to serve booze beyond 2 a.m. hit an unexpected roadblock earlier this month when Washington voters approved

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Seattle's Extended Bar Hours Proposal Delayed Indefinitely As State Quits Liquor Business

Belushi Bottle Crop.jpg
The effort to allow Seattle bars and clubs to serve booze beyond 2 a.m. hit an unexpected roadblock earlier this month when Washington voters approved I-1183 and put an end to state-run liquor stores.

In October, Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council petitioned the Washington State Liquor Control Board to adopt rules that would permit the city's watering holes to continue serving customers into the wee hours, a change they believe would help reduce the rowdiness that occurs when hundreds of drunks are simultaneously booted out of bars and onto sidewalks after last call. The Liquor Control Board accepted the city's petition, and began the lengthy, bureaucratic process necessary to change the last call policy.

But on November 8 more than a million Washington voters decided they'd had enough of state liquor stores and resoundingly passed I-1183. The last state liquor stores must close by June 1, and now the Liquor Control Board says they're too busy handing the booze business over to the private sector to deal with Seattle's desire to imbibe 'til the break of dawn.

"The extended hours petition will be delayed due to the transition from I-1183," Liquor Control Board spokeswoman Anne Radford tells Seattle Weekly. "We'll be taking up discussions to create a new timeline [for the extended hours petition] soon, but right now we're working to meet requirements set by the Initiative."

McGinn acknowledged the postponement yesterday at a press conference announcing the latest phase of his Nightlife Initiative: taxi stands in Belltown, Fremont, Pioneer Square, and Capitol Hill.

If things went according to plan, the new late night liquor laws could have taken effect February 25. Radford says that timeline has now been pushed back indefinitely. Tomorrow was supposed to be the last day the public could offer input for the Board to consider as they decide the matter. Instead, Radford urges the public to continue submitting written comments on the extended hours proposal.

"It's important not only for residents of Seattle," Radford says. "If we change a rule it would apply to entire state. Other cities would also have the opportunity to extend the hours."

Click here to drop the Liquor Control Board a line and let 'em know just how badly you want the option of shots at 4:30 a.m. poured by your favorite bartender.

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