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McGinn’s Nightlife Plan: Belltown bars open past 2am?

Seattle Mayoral Canidate Mike McGinn has recently released a Seattle Nighlife Policy. Some of the key highlights from this policy are;

  • Increased police patrols near nightlife “hot spots”
  • Staggered closing times (meaning bars could be open past 2AM)
  • Keeping transit options open until at least 3AM

Seattle deserves a mayor that supports local nightlife and music venues. As Belltowners, we should all accept and support the fact that the bulk of our neighborhood jobs are involved with the entertainment industry. However, I’m interested to know your opinion on the prolonged operating hours. What do you guys think?

full plan after the jump


Seattle’s music scene is already nationally recognized and admired, and our many bars, nightclubs, and performers are essential revenue sources for the city. But it can be even better if the city helps continue its growth by encouraging it as we do other industries.

In 2008 alone, the music industry in Seattle directly created over 11,000 jobs, with more than 2,000 businesses generating $1.2 billion in annual sales, as well as $487 million in earnings. The industry also generated $90 million in state and local sales and B&O taxes.

Beyond revenue, our music scene also creates vibrant and active neighborhoods, with customers from bars and clubs patronizing other local businesses throughout the day and night.

Nightclubs, bars, pubs, and other music venues — along with Seattle’s many bands, DJs, and entertainers — deserve a safe and supportive environment to earn their living. Similarly, residents living near music venues have the right to enjoy their homes in safety and peace.

I believe that reasonable people can work together to develop rules governing nightlife and nearby development — rules that keep Seattle’s music scene thriving.


• In order to help ensure safety and peace around bars and clubs, late-night patrols should be increased in “hotspot” neighborhoods.

• To help cut down on incidents after establishments close, the city should work with the state Liquor Control Board to encourage staggered closing times.

• To help cut down on drinking and driving, transportation choices such as light rail, taxi service, and buses need to be accessible until at least 3 a.m.


• New residential development must not be able to drive out existing nightlife establishments.

• Any new development within the proximity of an existing bar or club should be required to build sound-proofing measures into their plans.

• To maintain an open dialogue between the nightlife community and the city, the Seattle Music & Nightlife Association should have quarterly meetings with the mayor.


• The Seattle Office of Film + Music must remain open and active.

• In order to help maintain an environment where Seattle’s music scene can continue to thrive, the Seattle City of Music Initiative must remain in place and will be improved upon through work with the Seattle Music Commission.

• To further encourage the arts, the next Families and Education Levy should include funding for music and art programs in Seattle public schools.

7 Comments on "McGinn’s Nightlife Plan: Belltown bars open past 2am?"

  1. I’ve been very frustrated by McGinn, but this sort of policy could turn me in his favor. I feel very safe walking in the neighborhood (barring occasional gunfire) until after the bars close and the people go home; then it is a different sort of place. The nightlife establishments deserve more support.

  2. I support this plan.

  3. I feel like they’re one of the most dangerous elements on a weekend.

  4. I’ve been working odd hours, was driving to the office about 3:00 this morning – I used to walk anytime but I started to feel that I was pushing my luck. The people driving on the streets were just unbelievable. It may be safer to walk.

  5. Most bars in Belltown are already open for 12 hours that should enough time for drinking in any given day.
    The City of Seattle does not make liquor laws nor is it even the lead agency in enforcing them.
    Metro and Sound Transit run the buses not the City of Seattle. Both of those agenicies are more interested in ridership as in people per trip rather than transporting drunks after 2AM.
    McGinn’s plan also puts the burden of noise reduction on sound proofing by residents rather than clubs just turning down the volume from 11.
    Lastly, it is very bad sign indeed when any candidate let’s any industry write it own policy guideline in exchange for $upport.
    How much of an issue is night life in Greenwood?
    Other than the facts that McGinn does not understand the jurisdiction of the Mayor or the impacts on Nightlife it is a fine plan for Greenwood.

  6. thanks everyone for the lively debate.

    I agree that the plan doesn’t seem finalized and thought out. There’s plenty of examples of what works and doesn’t work in other areas of the country. It’ll be interesting to see if Mallahan retorts on this policy.

  7. Especially since I’ve lived in cities where bars could be open later… though I’d like to have a better policy against noise like DJ’s and car horns. Usually, it’s not the patrons I have a problem with… it’s usually the DJ & staff from the bar I live above being loud, playing their bass in their car when waiting for the others at 3am, screaming, laughing, being ridiculous at 3:00am when there is no need to honk your horn to tell your friends to come outside, etc.

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