Archive for June, 2014

All Things In Moderation: The Serving of Alcohol By Bars In The City Of Boston

June 1, 2014

The classical Greeks lived by the proverb, ” All Things In Moderation.”  The City of Boston is ignoring that historical advice when it comes to the serving of alcohol in its bars and restaurants. The newly elected mayor has proposed that the time for serving alcohol and the time for bars and restaurants to remain open be extended from their long-standing schedule. At the present time, the serving of alcohol by a commercial establishments in the city of Boston must terminate at 1:00 a.m.; and the establishment must close by 2:00 a.m. The 1:00a.m. deadline is usually referred to as “last call.” A customer must place an order for an alcoholic drink by 1:00 a.m. and he must finish drinking it by the 2:00 a.m. closing time. He is not allowed to depart the premises with a drink in his hand.  The new proposals which must be approved by the city council would permit alcohol to be served until 2:30 a.m. and permit closing time to be extended until 3:30 a.m.

Why the change? What are the pros and cons of such a change? Is this good public policy? How will this change effect the approximately 50,000 college and university students that go to school within the metropolitan confines of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts? What is the reaction of organizations such as “The Mothers Against Drunk Driving? What do the university and college Presidents and Deans think about these changes. It seems likely that these serving changes will make their already difficult job more onerous when it comes to consumption of alcohol by their students. Binge drinking is already at epic proportions among teenagers; and university students are mainly teenagers. The late night availability of alcohol beverages to minors is already a problem for bars and restaurants to control. Who is being harmed by the late night and early morning curfews? Is the risk worth the benefit? Is this a short-sighted attempt by commercial establishments to increase their income while ignoring the fact that  the current schedule is already difficult to enforce.  The consumption of alcohol in the middle of the night and early morning by adults also increases the risk of injury by drunk drivers many of whom arrive and depart by car. Just because we can do something does not mean we should do it. A little more moderation is in the public’s interest.

Arthur F. Licata, Esq.

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