Young adults stand in line waiting to get into bars until late in the night.
The daytime in Five Points remains very different than night.
Latitude 22 is one of the 17 bars in Five Points with an extended hours permit.
Howard Duvall, Columbia City Councilman, proposed an ordinance to close all bars by 2am every day of the week. Currently, 17 bars in Five Points have extended hour permits, which allows them to stay open until 6am Monday through Friday. Many think these permits create an unsafe, rowdy environment for the neighbors and students.
Duvall wrote the proposal because of the vast difference between Five Points during the day and at night. Duvall felt the bars were taking advantage of the opportunity they had and continue to serve alcohol.
“This behavior has got to change. We cannot allow these bars to overserve the student population. It’s a safety issue for the students; it’s a quality of life issue for the neighborhoods that surround these bars.”
But some don’t think ending alcohol sales earlier will really change the scene in Five Points. Connor Shuler, a manager at Bird Dog, believes that the proposal would have the opposite effect.
“It’s just going to throw everyone into the street all at once. A bunch of inebriated people all on the street at once is not going to solve anything.”
Tim Smith, owner of Papa Jazz Record Shoppe, also thinks changes need to be made, but said he isn’t sure what would be the best solution.
“I don’t really think the 2am thing solves any problems. I think in a way it’s kind of a red herring.”
Although Smith doesn’t think the proposal would fix anything, he has seen the impact Five Points at night has had on businesses during the day.
Tim Smith believes “we have to acknowledge that there’s an issue. I have to defend the neighborhood constantly because it affects us in the day time.”
Last week, the proposal was shot down due to lack of support from the other city council members. But Duvall isn’t about to quit fighting to make Five Points safer.
“We have 17 bars that are pouring all night. If we can decrease that density, I’m willing to compromise to see if we can get something that gives us the tools to control the bad actors,” Duvall said.
Duvall is looking for other ways to control the environment and is looking to increase the price of the extended hour permits, making it more difficult and less beneficial for bars to remain open later. City council will continue to discuss the situation and the public will have the opportunity to share their thoughts at a public hearing in the coming weeks.