Friday, July 18, 2008

Ceasar Mitchell's tin ear

What in the world possessed Ceasar Mitchell to try and allow bars to stay open later? He wants to let bars pay extra to stay open later. He is right about the economic benefits:
Atlanta's night life needs to improve to make the city more appealing to meeting planners who book major conventions and tradeshows, he said, and Atlanta is at a disadvantage to all-night meccas like Las Vegas.
But Ceasar is running for Mayor. Courting the business interests might help raise money, but that's not who votes. Neighborhoods vote:
Erica Pines, the president of the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association, which campaigned hard to close bars at 3 a.m., said her group is still pressing the city to force bars within the neighborhood to close even earlier.

"We would scream bloody murder," she said. Castleberry Hill residents are trying to close the bars inside the community at midnight Sunday through Thursday, and at 1 a.m. on weekends.
Not an auspicous start for a mayoral race. Ideally, there could be some sort of 'bar district', like Temple Bar in Dublin, or the French Quarter in New Orleans. Atlanta's used to be Buckhead. The difference is that in Temple Bar or the French Quarter, you kind of know what you are getting into when you decide to live there. Buckhead was a rich residential neighborhood, so the relationship didn't work.

As most readers know, the city tried to make Underground the party district, but that hasn't worked out so well. These things have to happen organically. Ceaser's proposal might work if NPUs got a veto over which bars get extended hours. Most of the stuff immediately around Compound is industrial, why couldn't they be open later?

I honestly haven't noticed Virginia-Highlands feeling any different than it used to, and would have no problem letting Fontain's or Moe's and Joe's stay open an hour or two later. Atkins Park residents might felt differently, since they live right across from a commercial strip full of bars.

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