The D.C. Council approved emergency legislation this evening that will allow District bars, nightclubs and restaurants to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. — three hours later than usual — and remain open for food around the clock from Jan. 17 until the morning after Obama’s swearing-in Jan. 20.
The bill was the brainchild of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and was introduced by council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents nightlife-heavy neighborhoods of Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant.
But Andrew Kline, general counsel for the restaurant association, said Obama’s inauguration is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is worthy of special rules. He noted that spontaneous celebrations broke out on city streets until the early morning hours after Obama won the general election Nov. 4.
Kline said it was important for the council to pass the legislation quickly because bars and restaurants are in the process of booking private parties for inauguration week.
“It makes sense to have places for people to go when they’re in a celebratory mood,” Kline said. “It’s just a few days. All of us are going to be somewhat inconvenienced, but that’s outweighed by a wonderful historic event.”
I can’t recall the last time I was so pleased by the work of lobbyists for business.