D.C. Council Approves Bill Extending Alcohol Service Hours for Holidays, Extended Service During Inauguration

On June 5, the D.C. Council put the final stamp of approval on the bill permitting D.C. bars, restaurants and hotels to serve patrons until 4:00 a.m. the night before federal and D.C. holidays. This extension of hours is expected to bring in at least $3.2 million in revenues, preventing a deficit and a potential increase in taxes and fees.

As reported in our May 16th post, D.C. Council Bill 19-743, which can be viewed here starting on page 29, amends District of Columbia Official Code Title 25 Chapter 7 to allow licensed establishments to serve patrons one hour later on approved dates.  In addition to the night preceding District and federal holidays, the Saturdays and Sundays preceding Memorial Day and Labor Day will also see extended service hours.  Extended service will also be permitted on the Saturday and Sunday adjacent to New Year’s Day and Independence Day, as long as either holiday falls on a Friday through Monday.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s initially proposed extending alcohol service hours by one hour from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. on weeknights and weekends, respectively.  However, the D.C. Human Services Committee voted 3-2 to strip this proposal from the 2013 budget, described in our May 3rd post.  This vote followed the standoff seen throughout the district between several neighborhood groups in opposition of the proposal and local entrepreneurs, as detailed in our April 18th post.

This measure also includes the extension of service hours during what the bill designates “Inaugural Week,” which occurs the week of January 15 through January 21 in 2013.  During this week, licensed bars, restaurants, and hotels can serve patrons until 4:00 a.m.  However, these establishments must provide the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and the D.C. Metropolitan Police with written notice of their hours of operation and a public safety plan no later than January 7, 2013.  These businesses must also pay fee for each day they extend their hours ($250 for a CN license, $100 for a CR or CT license, $50 for any other license).

For more information please contact Michael J. Kozlowski Jr., at mkozlowski@dbmlawgroup.com or (202) 589-1834.

— June 6, 2012