On Nov. 16, Councilman Kwanza Hall shook party-loving Atlantans out of a six-year slumber.
Without warning, Hall announced at a City Council meeting that he wanted the city's next mayor to study whether extending bar hours from 2:30 to 4 a.m. would increase revenue and spark the city's moribund and once booming nightlife scene.
Mayor Shirley Franklin inexplicably called it a "publicity stunt." Councilman Howard Shook, who chairs the committee that would weigh the proposal, said Hall's proposal would be "dead on arrival." Buckhead, Poncey-Highland and Castleberry Hill residents loudly opposed even looking at the numbers. Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell, whose neighborhood effectively shuttered its rowdy bar district a few years back, warned in an e-mail to City Hall that "'experience' is a pretty good 'study' in itself, and we wish to voice strong opposition to consideration of increased bar operations."
But Hall's proposal reignited a longstanding community debate that several political candidates, including mayoral hopefuls, have said they'd be willing to examine once they take office on Jan. 11. The proposal aims to determine whether extending bar hours would add much-needed revenue. If so, the question becomes: Can the city strike a balance between improving the bottom line, placating neighbors wary of even the most anemic nightlife scene, and pleasing would-be partiers disappointed in how the scene has been gutted?
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
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