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Disastrous or brilliant? Portsmouth, NH Debates 2:00 AM Bar closing

Will Portsmouth, New Hampshire extend its last alcohol call until 2 a.m. like most other states?

Some restaurants are all for this expansion, and some want nothing to do with it. According to Seacoast Online, the owner of Clipper Tavern loves the idea. Jeff Goss said Seacoast Online,

I’m all for Clipper Tavern. I see four or five of us in town wanting to serve that extra hour. So I think it would all help, just being more options within walking distance.

Clipper Tavern Facebook

Clipper Tavern Facebook

But at the nearby Daniel Street Tavern in Portsmouth, owners Marge and Jason Stiles don’t think it’s a good idea at all. They have noticed that at 1am, the current closing time, people are finished and ready to go home. This also includes staff.

This bill passed the New Hampshire House in late March, but there is no date for when the Senate would take up the issue.

Is Portsmouth, New Hampshire behind on closing times?

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Yes! The representative who sponsored the bill, Democrat Jessica Grill of Manchester, says extending service until 2 a.m. would make NH competitive with other states like Vermont and Massachusetts, which already stay open late. She said Seacoast Onlinethat New Hampshire has one of the earliest statewide closing times in the country!

Nearly three-quarters of states have laws that require last calls to be made at 2 a.m. or later. This also applies to Vermont and Massachusetts, where bars and restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. HB 1227 will align our liquor laws more closely with those of our neighbors and make our state more competitive.

monkeybusiness images

monkeybusiness images

What about the safety concerns with an extra hour of drinking in Portsmouth, NH?

It’s a concern. Officers from the New Hampshire Liquor Commission’s Division of Enforcement even testified against the bill. They think people are only thinking about the industrial side of this bill when it should be from a safety and law enforcement perspective. The point was made that more enforcement means more hours worked and taxpayers paid more.

‘Nothing good happens after midnight’

The New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association said the top comment from people opposed to the bill was: “Nothing good happens after midnight‘.

It may be true, but this is not required, and if a place wants to shut down alcohol at 1am, they certainly can. What do you think?

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