Public weighs in on possible bar hours extension

People packed the Lincoln City Council chambers Monday afternoon to weigh in on whether the council should extend bar hours to 2:00 a.m.

Scott Hatfield was there, he own's Duffy's in downtown Lincoln.  He told council members, “2:00 a.m. close will bring in revenue, but it's more than that.  It's about vitality and vibrancy for our city.”

Hatfield says he's having a hard time booking live music for his bar because bands want to go to Omaha or places open later.

Eddie Brown, lead singer of the local band D*Funk says Lincoln will lose music if bars can't stay open later.  “At 1:00 a.m., the dance floor is packed and people are wanting more.  We'd love to give them more, but right now, we don't have this opportunity.”

Not all bar owners see another hour as an opportunity.  Heinz Westphal owns The Garage.  He says bars on the other side of town will be at a disadvantage and it will take extra money to stay open the extra hour.   “Myself and other bar owners on the south side, as well as our employees, oppose this.”

He says, “we have concern for our customers.  Is an extra hour going to make a difference? Maybe for some, but you have to consider the added expense.”

Councilman Adam Hornung says he'll weigh everything he heard today as the council moves toward their vote next week.  “It's good to hear from all kinds of people.  It will help guide our judgment on this.”

The council votes next Monday.  If the extended hours pass, then it would take 15 days to go into effect.