AZ Rep. looks to keep bars open until 3 a.m. during World Series, Tucson bar managers react

Arizona representative Matt Gress is calling on Governor Katie Hobbs to extend the last call at bars from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. during the World Series. While the arguement is to bring more business to local shops, some bar managers worry it could be a slippery slope for public safety.
Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 7:38 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The World Series starts on Friday, Oct. 27. As many start looking for where to watch the game in Tucson, one Arizona representative is trying to extend the festivities later into the night.

“The legislature passed a law that gives the governor the authority to issue an executive order to extend the closing time bars and restaurants until 3 a.m.,” District Four representative Matt Gress said.

Gress is pushing Arizona governor Katie Hobbs to make an executive order allowing all bars in the state of Arizona to push the last call from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. for the surge of fans who will be watching the World Series out on the town, especially during the Diamondbacks home games.

The specific provision comes from Arizona Revised Statute A.R.S. 4-244(15)(b), “which allows the governor to issue an executive order extending alcohol sales hours for professional or collegiate national sporting championship events.”

Gress says the move would be a home run for local Arizona businesses.

“In terms of economic development, bars and restaurants get to benefit from another hour to serve patrons.”

For local bars and restaurants here in Tucson, there are mixed reviews. Some are open to the extra revenue, which may come in by keeping bars open later for the World Series.

“I promise you that that extra revenue, that extra money, all that extra “extra” will be great for all those businesses,” General Manager of Frogs and Firkin Tucson Jonathan Graham said.

On the flip side, many people who work in the restaurant industry believe it is not in the business’s best interest.

“I have worked here 18 years and that’s ridiculous,” Bartender and Manager of Putney’s Pitstop sports bar and grille Amanda Chomiak said. Chomiak has seen the after-party of sports games and thinks the last call extension will be a slippery slope.

“Personally, nothing good happens after 2 a.m. and the games will be over by 10 p.m. at the latest. So, what would the point be staying open until three?”

The biggest red flag for some is the safety of people who may be out later and the possible increased amount of intoxicated fans out later in the night.

But Gress thinks it will actually help public safety and the resources it takes to keep people safe rather than hurt them.

“Giving that extra hour, I think, is going to allow some flexibility for the ingress and egress of patrons so that it’s not going to overwhelm public safety resources.”

However, the final pitch will take place nowhere near 3 a.m. and these bars say they don’t see a rush out the door that late anyway.

“You’re busy for the whole game, but as soon as the game is over, it’s nine o’clock. Everybody’s wiped. They’re going home,” Graham said.

This heavily debated topic ultimately comes down to the decision of Governor Katie Hobbs. The governor was in Tucson earlier Thursday and was asked about this possibility.

“We’re looking at that request. Yes,” Hobbs said. When asked about any concern for public safety she noted “That’s a concern. That’s why I think, you know, we’re talking with our public safety agencies.”

The possibility is not quite off the table yet and in the metaphorical last inning of possibility, Gress is holding on to hope.

“I’m cautiously optimistic. And I really, really hope that she gives us that opportunity to celebrate the Diamondbacks and support our small businesses.”

To officially approve the last call extension, Governor Hobbs would also have to consult with the Office of Highway Safety. This was brought up in February when the Super Bowl was in Glendale and that request was denied.

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