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24-Hour Providence

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Yesterday, the Projo blog posted that the restaurant Pizza Queen approached the Board of Licenses requesting a license to operate 24-hours.

They were denied.

To make things interesting, they requested the approval to “keep the lights on and the oven hot” so that they can continue the delivery service after hours. This, the board decided, could be done on a trial basis.

The Projo reports that the reason the board won’t allow 24-hour restaurants downtown as “chronic problems with violence and traffic congestion associated with the weekend nightlife”.

I could certainly see this being a serious problem… if there were only one restaurant open. If the goal is to thin out the crowds of people leaving the clubs that all seem to congregate and cause problems, why isn’t the solution to give the 24-hour option to all businesses? What if there were 10 or 20 restaurants downtown that wanted to be open 24 hours? Would that solve the problem?

Another possiblity that has been discussed a lot is the option of having clubs stay open an hour or two later and not admit any new patrons, with only non-alcoholic beverages and snacks served, after 1 or 2am. In theory, this would allow the crowds to slowly end their evening of fun, instead of being forced out into the streets fully revved up after last call.

Combine the option of later closing times and more 24 hour destinations, wouldn’t this help the issue of unruly crowds in the streets when everything closes at once?

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2 Responses to 24-Hour Providence

  1. jencoleslaw March 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    Well, to be fair to the board, Pizza Queen has been the site of many many many issues downtown over the years. I would think that I would not be of a mind to grant them a 24 hour license unless they had somehow made their operation more secure. Not sure how that is done, however. But it seems that allowing them to continue to deliver pizza longer is one way to show that they are trying to clean up their act and maybe if this trial basis thing works, then they can go back and say “see?”

  2. Matthew March 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    I agree, Jen, and I don’t think the answer is simply giving PQ the OK. However, if 10 or so restaurants said, “You know, we could benefit from the late-night business,” and all got together and approached the board, there might be some improvement to the situation.

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