Tom Carr and the Blue Moon's Happiest Hour

Blue Moon owner Gus Hellthaler says he's a reasonable man. That's why lame-duck Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr is welcome at the Moon's Jan. 4, all-day, happy hour to celebrate Carr's last day in office.

"I'd be happy to serve him," Hellthaler says, "if he behaves himself."

Unfortunately, it looks like Hellthaler won't get that chance. Carr turned down Voracious' offer to accompany him to the shindig, and also declined to comment. It is Carr's behavior in office that had Hellthaler and other Seattle bar owners angry and organized during the November election. Carr's "Operation Sobering Thought" stings against perceived problems associated with bars and nightclubs -- underage drinking, over-serving, violence -- left some bar owners saying that Carr only wanted to harass and intimidate nightspots that displayed posters of Carr's election opponent (and eventual winner) Pete Holmes.

Helthaller's dispute with Carr goes back even farther. The two sparred over the city's "good neighbor" policy that Helthaller believed placed unfair legal liability on bar owners for all customer activity -- a liability Helthaller felt was disproportionate to requirements in other cities and for other businesses. The dispute threatened the Blue Moon's bid for a full liquor license before the city, Carr and Helthaller settled.

With Carr leaving office on Jan. 4, Helthaller said it's a perfect time to celebrate. And he expects that other bar owners feel the same way. "I'm not organizing a city-wide happy hour," Helthaller says, "but it's not a bad idea."

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