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November 16, 2003

Albany - Albany night clubs and restaurants can now sell alcohol until 2:00AM on Sundays. City commissioners tentatively agreed to extend the alcohol consumption hours.

Under current city rules, bars have to stop selling alcohol at midnight on Saturday nights, but they are allowed to stay open until 4:00AM. So now, city commissioners have extended the serving hours but will make night clubs close a little earlier. Clubs would now have to close at 2:30AM Sunday and by 3:00AM every other night.

"We reduced the hours on one end and gave thirty minutes to the clubs so they can continuously sell 2:00AM and don't have to leave until 2:30AM," said commissioner Tommy Postell.

In January, city commissioners voted to prohibit brown bagging which enraged owners of businesses like Club Insomnia and Club 229. The clubs didn't sell alcohol but allowed customers to brown bag, or bring in their own alcohol. Since they didn't sell alcohol, they could stay open until 4:00AM. And, police complained about violence at those late-night clubs.

Commissioner Tommy Postell says the new hours will hopefully stop people from breaking the brown bag ordinance and from staying out as late. "It would eliminate the clubs that are trying to spring up to catch people coming out of the other clubs, because now all businesses will have to close at three."

Commissioners also say the extra two hours of alcohol sales may draw more restaurants to Albany, especially downtown where revitalization is booming.

You still won't be able to buy alcohol by the package after midnight Saturday.

Posted at 5:33PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

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