Monday, December 19, 2011

Maryland county ordinance raises questions about closing bars because of conduct of patrons once they leave

Andrea Noble has a long story in the Monday Washington Times about a local Prince Georges County, MD issue that could set examples all over the country. The county recently passed an ordinance making it easier for police to shut down bars, discos and clubs with dancing when violence or crime is associated with patrons of the club, not necessarily limited to what happens on the premises, link (website url) here

Similar problems have occurred in Washington DC, as with a club on U Street, and more recently a club on Connecticut Ave. 

It’s a good question of the extent that owners of a bar should be held responsible for conduct of patrons once they leave the club, although DUI  has long been an issue. 

But it’s obvious that communities could use these laws to close down establishments they don’t like.
In the DC area, these laws haven’t particularly affected gay clubs, although some of the clubs have run into trouble expanding because of zoning issues in the Dupont Circle area and more recent objections of residents to more night life. 
However, back in the 1990s, a club called Tracks in the Navy Yard area, very popular with the gay  dances Saturday nights, would have “straight” nights other days of the week (Friday), and more incidents occurred on the “straight” nights. 

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