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How would 4 a.m. last call change Atlanta entertainment?

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Last call is 2:30 a.m. in Atlanta clubs and bars, like Mary's in East Atlanta, but there's talk again of making it 4 a.m. AJC file photo

It’s baaaaaaack!

Not Atlanta’s 4 a.m. last call, but the discussion about Atlanta’s 4 a.m. last call.

Should last call in Atlanta move back to 4 a.m.?

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Per an AJC story, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall introduced legislation Monday to request the city study revenue opportunities of shifting last call from 2:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. (”Revenue opportunities” = alcohol sales tax.) The legislation went to the council’s Finance/Executive committee for discussion. Hall asked for a summary report by Jan. 30.

Everyone in Atlanta seems to have an opinion on life in a later late-night town. Some recall it fondly, as if we haven’t had any fun since. Some of you are horrified, as if every night before 2004 was sleepless one. (I didn’t live here and I don’t have much context for what life was like. My neighborhood is pretty tame. If Mrs. Birdsong so much as raises an eyebrow, everyone apologizes and disperses quietly.)

For those that don’t remember: the council voted in December 2003 to push back last call to 2:30 a.m. largely in response to complaints from Buckhead residents and violence outside some nightclubs. Since then, entertainment districts have shifted, and so has the in-town population.

We’ve talked before about whether neighborhoods and nightclubs can co-exist, but this takes the question to neighborhoods, nightclubs and hours of the night. Let’s just consider it. Pretend that as of January 1, Atlanta goes back to being a 4 a.m. town.

Knowing how Atlanta’s population and entertainment districts have changed in the last five years, what would happen if last call went back to 4 a.m.? Would you want to live in Atlanta? Hang out there? Travel there?

Before you comment, remember that this is a blog about fun things to do in Atlanta — we’re not arguing about politics or race here. Focus, and treat each other with respect. Let’s push the conversation forward.

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43 comments Add your comment


November 20th, 2009
8:48 pm

One other thought…..after reading all of the previous comments, I realize that at least one person out there doesn’t understand how large the residential component is in Castleberry Hill. There are several thousand people living in those buildings in a very small area. Please–we have enough noise, loitering, illegal parkers blocking our driveways, littering and lack of respect for our beautiful neighborhood. A later last call is not for this area!


November 20th, 2009
8:28 pm

As a resident in a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood, I cannot agree to a later “last call”. The residents of Castleberry Hill have been plagued with problems from neighborhood restaurants/clubs. Some say it is the “new” Buckhead. I don’t have a problem with allowing clubs unlimited hours in non-residential neighborhoods, but there has to be compromise in a mixed neighborhood.


November 20th, 2009
3:14 pm

If you can’t ingest a sufficient amount of alcohol by 2:30a, you probably need therapy, not a later last call.


November 19th, 2009
6:29 pm

Since 2003,…

How much in sales tax (8%) and “by the drink” (3.5%) tax revenues has the city missed?
How many conventions has Atlanta lost to other cities?
How many police officers lost their ability to earn a supplemental income which was not paid by the city, but individual businesses and business associations?
How many potential crimes were prevented by those “extra-job” officers?
How many more property crimes were committed during the extra hours of “ghost town”?
How many crimes would not have been committed with open businesses, lights on, and potential witnesses out and about?
How many service/entertainment industry jobs have been lost?
How many service/entertainment workers got new jobs just outside the city limits, and have been making A LOT of money off of Atlanta? (I did once upon a time. Thanks Decatur!)

How well has the special interest, “entertainment district” known as Underground Atlanta fared while having the exclusive privilege of remaining open until 4AM? Who holds those interests?…Look into it.

I don’t know the answers. I’m just asking the questions.

One more,

When and where is the PUBLIC hearing on Monday, November 23?


November 19th, 2009
11:06 am

At OntheEdge:

Your name says it all as your frustration is palatable. Not sure where you live but I have seen a great deal of work done on the water and sewer lines throughout midtown; it takes time and it’s a big mess to fix, but it is happening.

There is no guarantee that the increased revenue will go to adding more cops, but we can’t hire more without officers without more revenue (either earned or saved elsewhere). We should have hired more back when we had the fourth highest volume of conventions in the country, but instead, we chased that volume and revenue away and now have to furlough officers when we need them the most.

You may be right about now not being the best time to roll back closing times, but we definitely need to start thinking about why we’ve lost the revenue and conventions that we have. Discussing this is a relevant and import thing to do and I’m glad Councilperson Hall is raising the issue.


November 18th, 2009
5:34 pm

“…having more revenue would allow us to hire the officers we need for the task” – what guarantee do you have of this? We were also told 4 years ago that the exorbitant water increases we were facing in the City were going to be used to fix the water/sewer lines, yet the hikes continue and the lines in our area are no better. The LRB and City is far more concerned with being sued by a bar/restaurant owner for questioning or not allowing any and all licenses that they don’t care about the impact on nearby residents. The system is broken! Fix the system, find a way to retain officers (most come here for training and then leave) and build the APD, then come discuss 4am last call…now is not the time!


November 18th, 2009
3:03 pm

Polly – what makes you think that all of us in favor of the idea don’t live in impacted areas? I lived in Midtown until just a few months ago and I have no problem with the idea of 4am; I also can’t say that I saw or see an exorbitant amount of the things you’re describing. I currently live in Grant Park very near to the Standard on Memorial and would welcome more places to go and hang out. I think the answer isn’t to continue to restrict bar hours but to increase enforcement by adding more officers; having more revenue would allow us to hire the officers we need for the task.


November 18th, 2009
2:42 pm

The revenue being made will be in more dui’s, more road blocks, more police and more idiots getting in fights at Waffle House. It is much more logical and more revenue generating to just sell booze on Sunday.


November 18th, 2009
2:14 pm

It’s easy to say a 4am last call will solve the world’s problems if you don’t actually live in one of the areas that may be affected. I do live in one of those neighborhoods and we’re struggling enough with all the noise, illegal parking, crime, loitering, littering, speeding and harrassment that comes at 2:30am. No thanks.


November 18th, 2009
1:36 pm

When they turned Underground Atlanta in to family oriented “mall” to by shoes and icecream – I just rolled my eyes in wonderment. I emailed Pitts (no response) about how even back then it needed to cater to ADULTS not adolescents and strollerz. There it went, full force into malldom and it ruined what Underground had left relating to the good ole days, what the world remembered when you mentioned “Underground”. Look at it now! Wow! Let’s [not] Go! As for the 4am closing time, there are so many watering holes tucked in here and there, that never make a blip on the radar, they should not be left out of the roll forward. 24/7 is the way to go… you don’t have to say open 24/7 but it should be your chioce providing you are ok with the surrounding community. If there is only one 24/7 club every one has to got there, what a mess… there needs to be as many as wht businesses want to partake. The more you have, the more dispersed, the less problems with traffic and noise, the better for all…. Grow up Atlanta, and to some of these posters, get with it and think outside of your closed up little world. Especially, nothing good happens after 2:30am go home with your buzz you had enough. Well fool, people get off work at 2:am and are enlitled to partake in a cold one and a burger too. Go back under your 9-5 ROCK !!!