A few weeks ago the Stranger had a great article about the tension between the local government and downtown nightlife; Corralling Clubland:
Although Twist just opened its doors this spring, it already has the dubious distinction of being perhaps the most heavily regulated bar in Seattle. Among the 54 special regulations included in Twist’s “good-neighbor agreement”â€”an agreement Twist’s owners were required to sign before the city and state would sign off on its permits and liquor licenseâ€”are the following restrictions: no dance floor; no dancing, period; no outside promoters; no DJs; no outdoor seating or sidewalk cafe; no opening of doors or windows; no drinks allowed after 1:40 a.m.; no line longer than 20 feet (a concession, the original agreement mandated no line at all); no nighttime happy hour. Those are the don’ts
While the article spends a lot of time focusing on the tension between club owners and city officials/policy, I think the more interesting discussion is the one around the tension between those who live downtown and those who go out downtown at night. This is especially going to be an issue for the empty nesters selling their suburban homes and using the equity to snap up a full service half a million dollar pad downtown who likely aren’t the kind of downtown residents to be out partying until 2am on a Friday night. Contrast those residents with people like me, the yuppies, who live downtown so that they can just walk down the street to the nearest bar or club without having to worry about drinking and driving.
I think the cracking down that the city is doing on club owners is going to far (i.e., what they’re mandating for Twist) and that residents are going to have to compromise and recognize that livng downtown has its downsides. I know a friend who used to live at the apartment now converted to the Onyx and he said he didn’t purchase their because of it’s close proximity to the firehouse and police station, and the garbage often wakes me up once or twice a week. I also like the idea of extending club closing time so that there isn’t a glut of people at 2am. Perhaps staggered closing times or simply no closing times would reduce the number of people spilling into the streets at 1:30. Another idea is for developers to beef up their sound proofing, though on hot summer nights like tonight, we’ve got all our windows open.