DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration and the city council are throwing the city’s official support behind a proposal that would allow bars across the state to stay open later than 2 a.m., possibly until 7 a.m.
The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, is an effort to cut down on the violence that often occurs when thousands of intoxicated bar-goers are forced out of downtown bars and nightclubs around 2 a.m., when all bars must shut down under state law.
Duran’s proposal, House Bill 1132, would give cities the flexibility to decide when bars must close, allowing them to opt to keep bars open and serving alcohol up until 7 a.m., although it’s possible the final closing time will be tweaked as the legislation moves forward at the Capitol.
The measure would apply to all municipalities across the state, but it was drawn up with Denver in mind, given the volume of late night foot-traffic in and around downtown bars and the frequency of violent incidents.
In the summer of 2013 an airman was killed after an altercation outside the bars on Market Street in Denver. This year over New Year’s Eve in Denver a string of random attacks put several victims in the hospital.
Hancock, whose office initially said he was still reviewing the legislation, is now supporting it, along with the entire city council and administration.
“The City and County of Denver is supportive of HB-1132 as it provides local governments the authority to establish hours of operation for liquor licenses,” the statement reads, stopping short of signaling that Denver would be adjusting bar closing times if the bill is passed.
“Though consideration of whether Denver would employ such a tool requires a much broader conversation with Denver’s neighborhoods and businesses, we appreciate the options this legislation could provide.”