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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor Mike McGinn announces plan for extended service hours for Seattle nightlife

7/14/2011  11:30:00 AM

Mayor Mike McGinn announces plan
for extended service hours for Seattle nightlife

Resolution transmitted to Council will begin process of
changing state rules to increase the vibrancy of city nightlife

SEATTLE- After significant public outreach and community input, Mayor Mike McGinn today announced his proposal for changing state policy to allow cities to allow extended service hours for Seattle nightlife. The mayor transmitted a resolution to the City Council supporting a petition to the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) to allow for the creation of extended hours service areas within local jurisdictions. This effort is being proposed as part of Seattle's comprehensive Nightlife Initiative, which aims to maintain public safety and provide businesses with greater flexibility to adapt to the market demands of residents and visitors.

"We've talked to the public, we've talked to businesses, we've talked to neighbors, and this is something the community wants us to do," said Mayor Mike McGinn.

The resolution launches a two-step process to extend service hours:

  • The Mayor's proposal asks the LCB to build a regulatory framework to consider and approve petitions from cities to allow extended liquor service.
  • If these proposed rule changes are adopted, Mayor McGinn can then work with the public and the City Council to craft a specific proposal for extended hours service in Seattle.

Seattle's diverse lifestyle and economy, as well as conventioneers and visitors accustomed to more modern liquor laws, create demand for nightlife that extends beyond existing entertainment hours. This is evident in two recent polls, in which more than 75% of over 4,000 participants supported extended hours in Seattle. Despite market demand for later hours of entertainment, and apparent cultural acceptance of the concept, Seattle venues are not currently allowed to accommodate socializing and entertainment after 2 a.m.

Police resources are often challenged at 2 a.m. when everyone leaves bars. Along with the other components of the Nightlife Initiative, this will help the City maintain public safety and deploy officers more effectively.

Across the country, at least 15 states allow local jurisdictions substantial authority to determine or extend hours of service based on market demand and regulatory capacity; and at least 18 jurisdictions have established liquor service hours later than 2 a.m. As a progressive and adaptable city, Seattle is well-suited to join these cities by adopting a more flexible urban policy that accommodates diverse lifestyles and entertainment choices.

Council will hear the resolution in committee on July 19th, with a full Council vote to follow soon afterward. The rule change application will be submitted to the LCB by August 31st. The LCB has 60 days to decide whether to initiate the rule making process, Mayor McGinn hopes to have extended service hours implemented in Seattle in 2012.

The Seattle Nightlife Initiative has eight components.

  • Code compliance enforcement,
  • flexible liquor service hours,
  • noise ordinance enforcement,
  • security training requirements,
  • precinct community outreach,
  • professional development,
  • late-night transportation alternatives, and
  • targeting public nuisances.

Please visit to find out more about the mayor's Nightlife Initiative and to review the substantial progress made on of all eight components.

Read the background for Seattle's proposal to the Liquor Control Board- Acrobat PDF
View the cover letter for the resolution to extend service hours - Acrobat PDF
Download the resolution proposing to extend service hours - Acrobat PDF

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Office of the Mayor

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