Who says you need to go home at 2 a.m.?
State Rep. Jordan Harris wants Philadelphia bars to stay open until 4 a.m. in hopes the move could help prevent young people from leaving the city. As part of his yet-to-be-proposed legislation, bars in entertainment areas would get the opportunity to apply for an extended hours permit.
But here’s the thing: If you want to stay out and drink at a bar past 2 a.m. you already can. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board grants “club” liquor licenses that allow for on-site alcohol sales until 3 a.m. and Philadelphia has several bars taking advantage. Zee Bar, Trilogy, Coda, Voyeur, Lit and Pen and Pencil all stay open until 3 a.m.
How does this work? Well, as clubs they’re only supposed to sell liquor to members. The Pen and Pencil, which gives membership to journalists who pay a $40 initiation fee, requires guests to enter with someone who is a member when it comes to the after-hours drinking.
Other places have lax qualifications for membership. Zee Bar, for instance, awards membership for a one-time $20 fee. It’s essentially a cover charge. Pay the cover, and you’re a member. Places like Trilogy and Voyeur also charge a high cover. Coda, which is governed by Germantown Nest Lodge No. 1624, offers membership to people upon entry.
While past-2 a.m.-drinking sounds like a major change for Philadelphia, it wouldn’t be that different than what we have now. It might just be less expensive to get in the door.