News & Such

Bills, Bars, Booze

Will your favorite local bar weather the recession? It kind of depends on you.

May 29, 2009

We’re all about to get hit up a little harder for the hard stuff.

So last month I reported on some booze bills recently introduced by the state legislature. In the end what happened is that the cost of liquors to state suppliers was raised by $1.05 a liter. That means, starting later this summer, when you go to the liquor store you’ll probably pay more, and when bar owners buy liquor for their businesses, they’ll definitely be paying more. Also, rates were raised on the permits that alcohol sellers pay for the right to do so.

The legislature that didn’t get passed, however—the bill that really freaked out the hospitality industry—would have done away with the guaranteed 15% discount that bar owners/restaurateurs receive on liquor.

I know that right now in Washington everyone is taking a hit. And its not lost on me that UW losing a quarter of its budget and cuts to state subsidized health care are a big scary deal. Still. Seattle has such an excellent array of weird and excellent spots to have a couple of rounds. And when I interviewed him for the article, Anthony Anton, the president of the Washington Restaurant Association, said in the current economy, Washington’s urban bars and restaurants seem to be hurting the most. He also said that the problem isn’t that people aren’t going out, but that when they do go out, they’re spending a lot less—a glass of wine each for dinner instead of a bottle, a Heineken in place of a martini.

So here’s what you have to do: go out tonight and order lots and lots of drinks at your favorite bar. And if the cost of your go-to cocktail goes up a little more in the coming months, know that the establishment isn’t trying to squeeze you, its trying to survive a price hike. Please don’t bring a flask to the bar to save money—you may not have as much disposable cash as you did this time last year, but do you really need cable and soap and new socks? No. You need drinks. And great bars to drink them in. It’s a recession, people, go drown your sorrows.

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