- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 17, 2009

Abraham Lincoln slept there, but you don’t have to.

You can drink until 4 a.m. at hundreds of District establishments over the next four days, including historic venues such as the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel, on the same site as the original Willard Hotel where Lincoln stayed before his inauguration.

But you won’t be able to party all night at the prestigious Hay-Adams Hotel, where soon-to-be-inaugurated President-elect Barack Obama and his family recently stayed until moving to Blair House.

Wherever you are drinking, D.C. officials say they will be standing by with a 311 hot line to respond to reports of problems with the late last call, which started early Saturday morning.

The city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) also released the final number of establishments participating in the longer hours — and the storied Hay-Adams, among many others, wasn’t on it.

Fred Moosally, interim director of ABRA, said Friday that 282 establishments are now registered to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. and serve food 24 hours a day during inauguration week, which represents only about 27 percent of the roughly 1,027 bar-restaurant businesses in the city.

Nightclubs were required to pay a fee of $250 per day and restaurants and bars were required to pay $100 a day to extend their hours. Mr. Moosally said his department collected $132,000 in revenue as a result of the registration process.

Meanwhile, the Maryland General Assembly on Friday also extended bar hours in Anne Arundel County by one hour for Inauguration Day.

Delegate James King, who owns an Annapolis bar, said he hoped the measure would boost an industry that’s feeling the effects of the nation’s recession at a time when thousands are coming to the area for the inauguration, according to the Associated Press.

“They’re in a celebratory mood, so hopefully they’ll take advantage of it, and I think it’s going to be a great thing for the county, for the state and for the industry,” said Mr. King, Anne Arundel Republican.

To help report problems during the longer hours in the District, city officials said citizens can call 311 after normal business hours for non-emergency matters. Their calls will be routed to an ABRA hot line maintained by a supervisory investigator.

“We did think it was important, given the fact that we don’t know how many people are going to actually visit the city, that we plan ahead and have that number in place,” Mr. Moosally said.

The agency also will have investigators assigned to monitor participating establishments until 5 a.m., a move that will coincide with the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement efforts.

D.C. police have recruited 4,000 officers from across the country to help with security during the inauguration, but the extra hands are permitted only to work at official events - not to help police bars.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said during an online chat with The Washington Times on Friday that her department has a map of all the extended-hour establishments and will be deploying extra officers where they are needed.

“As always, we will distribute our personnel throughout the city,” the chief said.

The D.C. total is 69 more than had initially registered to participate by the original deadline of Jan. 7, largely because businesses that had signed voluntary agreements restricting their hours of operation had until Thursday to show that their neighborhood associations had no objection.

“We did get a lot of people in the last couple days, obviously,” Mr. Moosally said.

The extended hours will run until Wednesday — the day after Mr. Obama is sworn in as president. Normal last call in the District is 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.

Bars and restaurants taking advantage of the opportunity for extra business range from local neighborhood hangouts to upper-crust ones.

At the Willard Intercontinental Hotel near the White House, spokeswoman Barbara Bahny-David said in-house establishments will be participating in the extended hours on a varied schedule.

“It’s all about service,” she said, “and we’ve been the spot of inaugural festivities since 1850, and we know how to do this.”

At Busboys and Poets on V Street in Northwest, spokeswoman Pamela Pinnock said the focus is more on providing the community with a place to go rather than boosting the business’ revenue.

“We don’t know what to expect. We don’t have any idea who will be here between midnight and 6 a.m.,” she said. “But we wanted to create an opportunity for neighbors and community folk if they wanted to come in, get their favorite dish and not fight a crowd.”

The D.C. Council passed legislation Dec. 16 to extend the hours in order to enable bar and restaurant owners to capitalize on the 1 million or more people expected to be in town for the inauguration.

Ward 2, which includes the District’s downtown area, had the most establishments sign up to participate in the extended hours with 147, followed by Ward 1 with 65 and Ward 6 with 43. No businesses registered in Wards 7 and 8, officials said.

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