The New York State Liquor Authority has extended the deadline for bars and clubs to apply for an 8am liquor license on New Year's Eve. Only 165 bars met the original deadline, a 60% drop from last year. Who is to blame: the SLA, the bars or the lame-os who frequent them?
The tepid response to extended hours is a baffling development. We all know that bars and clubs in the city have faced increasing government, police and neighborhood resistance over the years. You'd think that any opportunity to legally circumvent traditional restrictions, even if only for a night, would be met enthusiastically.
But the odd sight of the SLA apparently encouraging bars and clubs to get us louts drunk for an additional four hours actually is too good to be true. The extensions can mostly be explained by a change last year in the New Year's application process whereby the cutoff was changed for 10 days before New Year's Eve to 45, around the time most of us, even degenerate nightlife proprietors, are sliding into a tryptophan coma. So when it comes to the SLA, we applaud their leniency regarding this year's deadline while wondering why they ever changed it in the first place.
That said, bar and club owners are not exactly known for their adherence to imposed schedules and mild-mannered respect for authority figures. Obviously, that's why they often end up in trouble in the first place. This missed deadline is more likely an instance of confusion than sticking it to the man, but creatures of the night should jump at the opportunity this reprieve represents and use it to mend the relationship between bars and clubs and the SLA on New Year's Eve and well beyond it.
Come New Year's Eve, it's up to us to take advantage of the SLA's benevolence. Some of us have wondered if NYC kids are as cool as they used to be. Why not prove you've still got some party in you and forget about your beauty sleep (and maybe even those sacred brunch pilgrimages) for once.
As for the New Yorkers who have lost some of their favorite party spots over the years, but there's no better time than NYE to embrace news ones.