I said when the new NI Licencing laws were proposed that they don’t go far enough: they don’t open the market, they don’t give customers any more choice, they don’t go far enough in repealing a silly piece of wartime legislation that’s so far out of date it should be called Ye Olde Defence of Thee Realm Acte.
But, of course, I’m wrong, according to the PSNI.
Supt Eccles said that the current cut off time of 0100 GMT for serving alcohol was late enough.
“If they were to serve any length of time beyond that it would allow for more drinking and more disorder potentially,” he said.
“More disorder, potentially”, people. That’s a comprehensive arguement. Never mind that a drink of Sprite could cause “more disorder, potentially”, those E-numbers being mighty potentially unstabling.
So, because of a potential increase in disorder, we should keep those puritanical laws in place. Hell, we could just go the whole hog and ban the drink completely, that’d be a roaring success…
So what do you suggest, Ed? It seems our chums on “mainland” Europe can go out for the night and not end up incontinent, but not in Norn Iron. I’m sure you see the best and the worst of it, in your other job; I know I certainly have in mine.
Until there’s a change in attitudes to alcohol, and I’ve seen no evidence of that, I don’t think that longer opening hours are going to make anyone happier – apart from the publicans and the Taxman.
In my (somewhat blinkered) experience, there are very few problems in bars at kicking out time, relative to during the time when drink is flowing freely. The problems happen when masses of people all leave at the same time and find themselves all wanting taxis/kebabs/seats/shoulders to cry on at the same time.
Ie, it is my theory that the problem is that everyone has the same closing time, immaterial of when that time is. Allowing businesses to choose when they close would, over time, introduce staggered closing time, reducing the problems. A steady trickle of people wanting taxis, kebabs, etc is much more manageable and better behaved than a predictable flood.
Yes, it would be a brave government that actually liberalised the drinking laws over here, but it would pay off, in time. You’d have to ignore the churches, the FRLT, and the busybodies, but it would work.
(Note: I’m ignoring the binge drinking topics (for I think they’re horseshit), the health issues of sustained drinking, domestic issues, etc, because they’re not what I deal with)
Well, I agree with you on the staggered closing. I just don’t think that 24hour opening would be a good idea. And I don’t think that businesses would close early of their own volition, and let the competition down the street stay open for another hour.
I think they would, eventually. Short of being open 24/7 (which would be prohibitively expensive in wages), everywhere would have to close sometime. After some trial and error (and until the novelty of all night drinking wears off) each establishment would settle on it’s own time; different staff, different owners and different clientèle would strike a different balance.
Look at the traditional country bars, where closing time is a wonderful theory, but not really anything that you need to pay too close attention to. Are they open all night, or just until the landlord wants to get some sleep? It’d be a messy few months until the landlord found their limit, but after that it’d be much more pleasant. I thing, anyway.
Ed, is this our first tiff? *sob*
There are already bars with staggered closing times: feeder bars for larger outlets and clubs. It would also happen. A cheesy music bar will likely closer earlier as it the crowd it attracts are less likely to want to stay out as late as the bars for the 18 year old kiddywinks going crazy on their pocket money.
Plus, it’s the status quo that created the current attitudes. Something needs to change for attitudes to change.
Sandra: that’s what it looks like, anyway. And, despite this being my blog, I expect that it’ll be me who has to sleep on the couch… *sigh*
Course not, darling. You’ll be sleeping in the car.
Now, hang on, that comes under cruel and unusual punishment… You ever tried to get a night’s kip in a Pug 206? It’s just not happening.
Especially since I made sure the IDQCT… was supplied with exceptionally comfortable couches, just in case a situation like this arose.
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