I'm trying to find out how the number and locations of bars and nightclubs are regulated in different places.
September 15, 2009 7:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find out how the number and locations of bars and nightclubs are regulated in different places.

This may be a bit broad, but I’m hoping the green can point me in some useful directions.

I’m looking for information on how different places (especially in North America and Europe) regulate the location and number of bars, pubs, and nightclubs.

For example: Apparently in New York state, there is a law (the “Padavan Law”) that states that in order to have more than three bars within 500 feet of each other, there has to be a community hearing demonstrating that the new bar is in the public interest. And in New York city, I gather here are (are there still?) very strict regulations on the number and location of dance clubs (via cabararet laws). I’ve been able to find out a fair amount online about these New York regulations, the realities of how they are/aren’t enforced, etc.

According to on source I found, in Berlin “Before a bar can be opened the owner must prove that it will not cause a nuisance to neighbours” I’d like to know more about this, but haven’t been able to find much information anywhere.

I’m interested in finding out about similar regulations on other places. I’m especially interested in big cities and in places that have reasonably vibrant nightlife- I’m not so interested in how bars are regulated in quiet or small places.

If anyone has any information on individual cities, or suggestions on where I could find out more, that would be great.

(I ask because I’m involved, as a resident volunteer, in some municipal planning working groups in my own city. I’m interested in knowing what sorts of planning and zoning strategies other cities have taken to balance the desire for active nightlife against the downsides like noise and crime that bars can sometimes lead to… Both successful and unsuccessful measures are welcome…)

Any leads would be much appreciated!
posted by ManInSuit to Law & Government (4 answers total)
some info from chicago/illinois regarding the woodlawn tap (aka jimmys ) in hyde park here.

mostly, though, they are regulated through zoning in most illinois municipalities. often bars are something referred to as a 'special use', and require additional hearings for approval. this varies widely in each town.
posted by lester at 10:35 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

A tale of two cities:
Though they aren't large, they are separate entities, being divided by a state line. On one side, much lower population. On the other, that's where folks sleep, and often work. Except for those in the restaurant and bar business, that is.

Ironwood, Michigan, and Hurley, Wisconsin. Insignificant little places, in the over-all scheme of things. Wildly different control of licensing to serve alcohol. On the Wisconsin side, they allowed a bar for every 40-some people. Yes, that many were allowed. On the other, well, who cares?

The result, Hurley is a rather swinging place. It's where all those folks from Ironwood go when they want to live it up. There's nearly nothing left up there anymore except some skill hills and forests. While the ski hills aren't very big, the snow is some of the most reliable in the States. And you'll have a good time out drinking, in Hurley.
posted by Goofyy at 11:30 AM on September 15, 2009

In San Francisco, the DNA Lounge has had (and is having) some problems with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Here in Gatineau, nice "cultural" bars, that are usually full of civil servants, are having trouble with their licenses because the city put a moratorium on downtown licenses in the 90s, when the place was much rowdier. Back then, Ontario bars closed at 1 a.m. (they now close at 2) and Quebec bars closed at 3, as they do now, so a lot of drunk people crossed the bridge and made trouble, apparently.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:03 PM on September 15, 2009

Response by poster: Hey! A month later, and I've done a bunch of research on this myself. Anyone interested can find it here.
posted by ManInSuit at 5:56 AM on October 13, 2009

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