The end of 5 a.m. clubs in Little Rock? | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The end of 5 a.m. clubs in Little Rock?

Posted By on Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM

MIDTOWN BILLARDS: No more 3 a.m. cheeseburgers? - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • MIDTOWN BILLARDS: No more 3 a.m. cheeseburgers?

The Little Rock Board of Directors
appears to be moving towards forcing those handful of Little Rock private clubs that have state alcohol permits that allow  them  to  stay  open until 5 a.m. to close earlier, according to a report from the Democrat-Gazette's Claudia Lauer (paywall). Several other cities have passed ordinances to make private clubs close earlier, including Fayetteville and North Little Rock

In 2001, the state quit issuing late-night private club licenses. Last week, the ABC said there were 84 licenses active, down from 133 in 2006.

There are only 13 late-night private club licenses in Little Rock, 11 of which are in active use. Three of those 11 — the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Little Rock Association of the Deaf and the Otter Creek Homeowners Association — don't seem to be clubs where anyone can become a member. 

Here's what's left over: Discovery, Electric Cowboy, Elevations, Jazzi's, Midtown, Paper Moon, Salut and Triniti.

In 2011, the state Alcohol Beverage Control Board denied Juanita's bid to extend its hours by buying the Deaf Association permit after objections from neighborhood groups and the city. Last week, the city board heard from Tracy Johnson, owner of Club Trois, who's seeking to remain open until 3:30 a.m. by purchasing the Deaf Association permit. Lauer reports that several board members hinted that they wouldn't support the change. 

I've had some memorable times in after hours clubs (and some hazily memorable ones, too). The last time I was at Electric Cowboy, I saw a man in what appeared to Amish garb dancing earnestly to the "Cha Cha Slide." (Maybe he was on Rumspringa?) As I argued in a cover story five years ago, because there are so few late-night clubs, there are few social gatherings in Central Arkansas as diverse as a late night crowd at the Electric Cowboy. Or Midtown. Or Discovery. 

But I'm not sure that's a compelling reason to allow the clubs to stay open until the wee hours.

The board is expected to consider an ordinance sometime next year. 

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