4 AM Bars

23 04 2008

The State News has an editorial this week about the legislation that would allow municipalities to enact an ordiance to allow bars to stay open until 4 AM.

The point of the bill is to make money for the state and help reduce the deficit. However, the bill seems too potentially dangerous to justify the budget relief.

Currently, bars across the state are open until 2 a.m. In that time, bar crawlers are able to thoroughly indulge in their desired alcohol-driven activities. By the time the bar closes, many patrons stumble home, drunk and tired.

What happens if bar hours are extended for two extra hours?

More alcohol is consumed, and at 4 a.m. patrons who are even more drunk and tired will pour into the streets, off to their next destination.

The potential for alcohol-related incidents including drunken driving and public intoxication likely would increase.

*Sigh*  Another un-informed opinion.   I know State News is a college paper, but give me some proof to back that up.  For five years, I lived in Peoria, IL where they have a 4 AM district.  Guess what?  There aren’t a ridiculous number of DUI’s or accidents.  There aren’t people in the street fighting at 4:05 because they’re intoxicated.  Peoria is home to Bradley University so it’s not like there are no kids running around Main Street.   It just takes some planning on the city’s part.  I wouldn’t be in favor of a state-wide 4 AM license, but done responsibily, extending liquor license’s can be a benefit to the communities and the state as a whole. 

Let’s not try to pretend that alcohol is the root of all evil.  There’s a reason prohibition failed.  Alcohol sales provide a good portion of any cities revenue through license fees and sales tax.  Not everyone who drinks a beer does so irresponsibly.  I already said I’m not in favor of a state-wide 4 AM license, but I am in favor of 4 AM districts similar to the one in Peoria.  The State News article makes the same point in it’s article.

However, such legislation could be effective in stimulating areas such as downtown Detroit where casinos and other nightlife are prevalent.

But in the very next sentence, they go back to blaming all of the world’s problems on college students.

In more metropolitan areas such as Detroit and Grand Rapids, where the majority of residents are working adults and not active students, the bill could provide a positive social and economic stimulus.

An extended license in a downtown district in any city in Michigan can be a good thing.  East Lansing is no different.  Yes, it’s probably true that business downtown would spike after 2 AM, but that also gives East Lansing Police a chance to regroup and redeploy themselves downtown.  It IS the PD’s job to keep the peace.  Drinking and hanging out at the bars are part of life and a whether you think it’s a good thing or not, it is a big part of college life.  Every one of those police officers know when they take a job in East Lansing that most of their time is going to be spent trying to control rowdy college kids.  Every resident who moves into East Lansing should also know that is where a majority of their tax dollars will go too.

Back to Peoria.  The 4 AM zone is only in Downtown and it doesn’t even cover every bar.  There are boundries set up that have been under question for a few years, but the Council has been very tough when it comes to changing.  The zone is set.  The police chief is in favor of it and realizes the benefits to the 4 AM zone.  At 3:00 they reposition police officers to the Main Street area.  The taxi services know to be downtown starting around then too.  In all my years in Peoria and working in news, I only know of one or two instances of problems when the bars closed and both of those instances where at the same bar.

Michigan has a unique opportunity here with HB4573 to improve the quality of life in it’s urban areas as well as take advantage of a huge funding source.  Business wishing to stay open to 4 AM would be charged an extra $1000 on top of the license fee.  The bill stalled in the house on Oct. 3 of last year when Rep. SteveTobocman moved for temporary postponement on the third reading. 

The Post Bar

11 04 2008
  • 213 Ann St
  • East Lansing, MI 48823-4320
  • Phone: (517) 332-7678
  • Website
  • Menu

We were walking around downtown East Lansing on a Sunday afternoon looking for lunch when we came across The Post. It was a nice day, so we decided to eat out on the patio which was a good thing because (and here’s the I’m getting old in me) the music inside the restaurant was so loud we had a hard time just communicating with the waitress that we wanted to sit outside.

We took a table next to the building and the waitress came with drinks and menus. The first thing that just jumped off the menu were the appetizers. We usually don’t do apps for lunch but my date had to try the macaroni and cheese bites. Little chunks of Macaroni and cheese breaded and deep fried served with a side of ketchup on a bed of lettuce. Three hours later, she’s still saying they were “fantastic” and asking if I could make them here at home. Surprisingly, we got quite a few in the basket and they probably could have been a meal by themselves. Definately a unique and very taste idea.

For lunch, I went with The Post Burger with cheddar. Not a bad burger, but nothing special either. It was juicy and a decent size. The fries were crinkle cuts out of the bag. Between the sandwich, fries, and macaroni and cheese bites, I left stuffed.

My girlfriend ordered the Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad. A bed of mixed greens was topped with grilled chicken, bbq sauce, avocado, bacon cucumber, onion, and shredded cheese then served with ranch on the side. The grilled chicken had a great flavor to it and the BBQ sauce was a KC sweet style. Even after raving about the cheese bites, she had enough compliments left for the salad.

With two Pepsi’s, the bill was just under $30. The Post is a great alternative to the chains and take out places near Michigan State and they provide a great atmosphere for both dining and a night out.

The Nuthouse Sports Grill

11 04 2008
  • 420 E Michigan Ave
  • Lansing, MI 48933-1421
  • Phone: (517) 484-6887
  • Website
  • Menu


The Nuthouse Sports Grill has a great location just across the street from Oldsmobile Park in downtown Lansing. It’s hard to miss driving by as the huge signs out front scream out to you as your driving by.

After finding parking in their tiny lot, we went inside where the hostess showed us to a table in the main dining room near the bar. There are also a couple more rooms that are available for private parties which I was told they use as overflow dining when the main room is packed.

Our server came over and took drink orders. By the time he came back, we were ready to order.

I got the Black & Bleu burger. A 100% Angus beef patty with a cajun spice came topped with provolone and crumbled bleu cheese. The meat itself was alright, but the combination of the two cheese really gave the burger a lot of flavor and made me want another one. The sandwich came with a side of cajun fries which were nothing special, but tasty and complimented the sandwich well.

My girlfriend got the Garden Burger. A 100% meatless patty came topped with provolone on a kaiser roll. She said the guacamole that was served on the side is what made the sandwich for her. Like my burger, hers also came with the cajun fries which she enjoyed more than I did.

Once he took our order, the server seemed to disappear. Someone else brought our meal. When it was time for drink refills, he was no where to be found. I was sucking on ice cubes. I think he finally noticed when my date held her glass up to show me she was empty. Then he came with a couple Cokes.

The price wasn’t too bad for a sports bar and we left stuffed. They look like they have pretty good drink specials and you couldn’t ask for a better location. I’m sure the place is hopping before a baseball game. I’m sure once we move to Lansing, we’ll be spending a lot of time at The Nuthouse.