Sunday, October 16, 2005

Drinking Hours

On my pervious post the comments seem to have turned to the issue of drinking hours. So not to be one to ignore an issue I’ll will put my thoughts here.

The argument for extended drinking hours is that this will reduce the amount of people leaving clubs at the same time, mixing and generally starting fights. Also some believe that if there is longer drinking time people will pace themselves and not try to force 10 pints down before 2. Well this argument is complete shite really.

When I was in Spain in clubs that opened until 5:00am people stayed in the clubs until 5:00am. This was without one of the most prime Irish traits. I’m not talking about drinking culture. I’m talking about the Irish trait of trying to get value out of everything. In Japan it is considered impolite to empty your plate. The reasoning being if you empty your plate then your host did not give you enough to eat and thus you are giving out to them. In Ireland the opposite is nearly true. If you don’t leave your plate full it is like saying it was not good enough for you.

In Ireland you have to pay into most nite clubs. So most feel you should get your monies worth out of the night and you stay on until the bouncers kick you out. With longer opening hours this will not change. If you don’t believe me if the clubs close at lets say 3:00 and if you left at 2:45 you could get a taxi in 10 minutes. But yet everyone waits for taxis for up to and over an hour. Why? Because people leave at 3:00.

So what will people do with these longer opening hours. We Irish people are in many ways self consciences. We dislike making fools of ourselves (when everyone else isn’t). Thus people aren’t going to dance the entire night. Other then the people who know or think they can dance and the drunks. So what will happen. People will drink. To get Dutch courage so as to allow them to dance to latest manufactured R and B act. This will last until people sober up a bit from the exercise and get an urge for more beer and continue drinking more then they would if they left at 2. Also bars pump out music by the same manufactured R and B acts loudly. Why? When is the last time you have seen a dance floor in a bar. Also ever go into a bar without music it just as lively without it. Atmosphere is not the reason in my opinion for the music. The reason. The fact that music is so loud that you can’t hold a decent conversation that would absorb you. You have bitty shouting contests. Which when you realise the futility of trying to out shout the PA system you drink to give you something to do so as to not suffer in awkward silence. Go out to the smoking section and you will notice you will drink less as you can actually have a full conversation with someone. This same effect happens in clubs its so loud all you can do is drink conversation is useless.

The other option that people say is staggered closing times. Where some clubs close at 2 others at 2:30 others at 3 etc etc. This would be next to impossible to operate. Every club would wish to close at the latest time. Also if the list of closing times was released everyone would just go to the latest closing club. If it was secret and alternated, the clubs would not like it. Some days you make more money then others. Clubs would not sacrifice a few hours of St Patrick’s day trading for a few hours trading time on some random Monday. The system would be blatantly open for abuse and accusations for bribing.

Over all I would welcome the extending of the opening hours but not for any safety reasons mearly because I would like to stay out longer. Safety concerns will not be served by extending the hours. The only real winners in extending the hours would be the vintners association as there members would make even greater money.

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