There’s a lot of talk about extending last call in Toronto to give the music industry a boost. Later closing times mean more opportunities to play more sets and more chances to make money at the bar. “Why can’t we me more like New York state that serves until 4am?”
I’m going to play devil’s advocate. There are some good reasons for staying open later—more chances for bands to play, the potential for more bar sales and so on. But there are also potential problems.
First, a later closing time is tough on bar staff. When last call moved from 1 until 2am, that required a big shift in lifestyle. There’s a very big difference between getting home at 2:30 and 3:30am. And if you move last call to four, industry folk won’t be getting to bed until 6 or 6:30am. Now you’re basically working an overnight shift.
And second, just because you’re open later doesn’t mean people will arrive at the same time as before. If you’re open until four, you’ll have more people pre-drinking at home until midnight. Then they’ll go to the bar for their 3-4 hours, so the next gain is zero.
I see both sides of the argument. And there are other issues, too: transit, noise, impaired driving and so on. If you want weigh in—maybe you work in a club or a bar and you’ve got serious skin in the game or you’re in a band who needs that extra stage time—let me know what you think. This is a discussion worth having.