Deciding what’s better

When the discussion of what time bars should close in Huntsville arises, we get lots of arguments on both sides of the issue. In many ways, it is being perceived as a divider between students who live here to go to school, and residents who live here because this is their home.

Each has their own goals for the town and their best interests in mind. But, the question still remains, what is best for Huntsville?

Should bars close at 2 a.m. like so many other cities and college towns, or should we stick to the status quo and leave closing time at 12 a.m. with the night young and possibilities endless?

From the economic perspective, the best interest of Huntsville is to gain as much capital as possible. When a simple change could potentially increase the capital gain dramatically, it seems suspect to oppose it so vehemently.

Why would someone who advocates the success of a town oppose something that could help its economic status? When bars close at 2 a.m., the establishment gets to make two more hours of profit, the bartenders and waitresses get two more hours to make tips, and the patrons get two more hours of camaraderie that they go to the bar to attain.

Then in turn, the bars can purchase more products, hire more staff, or perhaps even lower prices. The staff can participate more in the local economy more than originally possible, and the patrons can really enjoy the atmosphere and social aspect without having to race the clock or drive half an hour to Conroe.

Opponents of extending bar hours often say that this will just increase the amount of drunk drivers, making roads unsafe late at night.

These, I’m sure, are the same people who are opponents of binge drinking at noisy, late night house parties.

What needs to be addressed is that, after bars close at 12 a.m., people leave the safety of the bar and often just move to a kitchen where there isn’t a state licensed server cutting them off when they’ve had too much, or taking away their keys when they want to leave.

How is that safer for anyone involved? When people can drink at their leisure in a bar until 2 a.m., servers have the authority to say enough is enough.

The Sam Houston State University Alcohol Abuse Initiative and many of the bars around town including Shenanigans, The Jolly Fox Club, Tops & Bottoms, Humphrey’s, and others sponsor the iDrive program. This program provides free non-alcoholic beverages to the person in a group who identifies her or himself as the designated driver.

It would take only a little extra effort on the part of bars to make the knowledge of this program readily known to its patrons. This alone could help decrease drunk drivers on the roads and make Huntsville that much safer.

The program is much more feasible when bars are open later because the cost of free beverages is offset by the extra revenue taken in.

So, I leave it to you. What is better for the city of Huntsville?

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