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Michigan Senate bill would allow bars to run until 4 a.m.


Downtown Mount Pleasant bars might soon be able to stay open and serve alcohol as late as 4 a.m.

Michigan Senate Bill 247 would allow bars and restaurants in “central business districts” of cities to operate and serve alcohol until 4 a.m. However, just because Mount Pleasant bars could remain open later does not necessarily mean they will choose to do so.

“For us, staying up until 4 a.m. wouldn’t really be beneficial,” said Freddie’s Tavern Manager Danielle Phillips. “Our clientele isn’t really interested in staying up that late, and I doubt our staff would be either."

The bill was introduced by Sen. Virgil Smith, D-Detroit, in March. The Detroit Free Press has reported that it is expected to soon be referred to committee.

SB 247's proposed extended hours come with a few strings attached, as well. In order to operate as late as 4 a.m., bars would need to purchase special $10,000 permits annually, in addition to increasing the presence of security cameras and bouncers.

Eighty-five percent of the revenue earned from the $10,000 after-hours permits would be allocated to local police departments, 10 percent would go to the Liquor Control Commission, while five percent would be distributed to the local government.

Regardless, many Mount Pleasant bars did not anticipate that they would operate until the 4 a.m. time.

“We feel that even if the law does pass, by 2 (a.m.), everybody is done,” said 18-year Green Spot Pub employee Julie Hilliard. “I know that we plan on shutting down at the regular time. We would not be open until 4 a.m.”

In contrast, O’Kelly’s Sports Bar & Grill and Wayside Central General Manager John Hunter said operating as late as 4 a.m. would be something that he would welcome.

“If they did allow O’Kelly’s to remain open and there was no gray area, we would love to be a part of something like that,” Hunter said.

However, he believed the bill in its current state is ambiguous and it is hard to anticipate what it would exactly entail should it pass.

“There’s a lot of gray area in the bill right now,” Hunter said. “We’re not sure if it’s going to be passed or changed or what. It seems like there’s just a lot of unanswered questions in it.”

Mason senior and bar frequenter Michael Schmidt said he doubted he would want to stay at a bar that late.

“No way would I stay that late,” Schmidt said. “I don’t have the endurance to go that long. It’s just crazy. There’s also that saying on 'How I Met Your Mother:' Nothing good happens past 2 a.m.”

Schmidt said although he enjoys visiting bars, he expressed concern at the notion of staying until 4 a.m.

“The only times that I really have closed down bars, were when I realized, ‘I’m really here this late,’” Schmidt said. “When that happens, I’m almost disappointed with myself and would rather not want to stay out that late to begin with.”

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