Local bar owners not in favor of later last call

Posted at 3:05 PM, Dec 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-05 17:23:03-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--Michigan law makers are pushing for bars across the state to stay open until 4 A.M., but owners in Grand Rapids say, 'Not so fast.'

"Even if it was free we wouldn't do it," said Mark Sellers.

Sellers owns more bars than anyone else in the city of Grand Rapids. He says the possibility of bars remaining open two more hours past the current last call, scares him.

"In my mind, the big negative is that by 2 A.M. most people should be going home,even if they don't think they should be, it's time for them to go home," Sellers said. "Some bars staying open until 4 A.M. just gives them the opportunity to be further over-served."

That extra two hours of potential business does come at a cost. The permit costs $10,000. The money would go to local police departments, the liquor commission and the city. A price that Eric Tuinstra of Peppino's says outweighs the profits.

"Things like staffing. Say, bartenders, servers, security, don't know the implications on insurance but with the added costs that the state wants and the added cost that our insurance providers could want," Tuinstra said.

This concept is new to Michigan, but not the rest of the country. Several large cities such as Chicago, Atlanta and New York City all have bars with a later last call. But Sellers says the Empire State of Mind doesn't work in the Mitten.

"People drive here. This is an automobile state," Sellers said. "In Chicago people take the train, people take taxis, people walk. A lot of people that go to these bars live within six blocks. It's a different thing here. People drive and that scares me."

The bill now has the pass the House and be signed by the governor to become law.