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Friday, February 5, 2010

After Eight Long Years, City Hall Cozies Up to Nightlife

Posted by on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 11:28 AM

The Seattle Nightlife and Music Association (SNMA) is working with City Attorney Pete Holmes and Mayor Mike McGinn to redraft the Good Neighbor Agreement, an agreement imposed on businesses seeking nightclub liquor licenses by former City Attorney Tom Carr, seemingly designed for the purpose of muzzling Seattle nightlife. Carr’s last victim of office was the J & M Café in Pioneer Square, which was set to re-open under new ownership in time for New Year’s Eve. Carr objected to their license after they refused to sign his roughly 18-page GNA (which held venues accountable for crime happening within view of their property, among other things). This was one of his last dickish moves as City Attorney. After Holmes was sworn in on January 4, he chose not to seek a GNA for the J & M Café, allowing the cafe to open in early January of this year.

The Bad Juju Lounge in Belltown is being used as the test case for the revised GNA. "Pete Holmes and I came to a good understanding about the Juju," said Juju owner Marcus Charles. "Things seem to be working smoothly between the Nightlife community and the City Attorney's Office."

Holmes and McGinn are great to work with," confirms Mike Meckling, owner of Neumos and president of the SNMA. "With them, it’s more of a round-table discussion where we’re trying to figure out what’s fair and what’s relevant [for our businesses]. It’s definitely more productive to address the issues beforehand instead of being approached by law enforcement.” The City Attorney’s office projects the revised GNA will be ready by the end of this month.

SNMA is also meeting with the State Liquor Control Board to update their more archaic regulations. For instance, bands are currently forbidden from drinking on stage at venues, as they are considered contract employees—and employees are forbidden from drinking on the job. “We’re actively discussing that, too,” said Meckling. “When we brought it up, eyebrows raised that it was even being enforced, but at this point it still is.”

 

Comments (18) RSS

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Fnarf 1
Whoa -- I'm pretty sure I've seen bands drink on stage dozens, maybe hundreds of times. The open Bud Light by the monitor, the tray of Jaeger shots delivered after the first song....
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 5, 2010 at 11:36 AM · Report this
2
Recently Fnarf?

Cause I've noticed people being quite discreet over the past several years and have seen several instances where band members were ordered to ditch stuff by club employees.
Posted by gnossos on February 5, 2010 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Fnarf 3
Yeah, maybe not that recently, and maybe not at the obvious venues on Capitol Hill. But I can think of a place where I've seen it in the past year, year and a half. I won't name names.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 5, 2010 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
Some bands can't drink on stage.

Cause they're underage.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM · Report this
5
This is such a great thing.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM · Report this
in-frequent 6
a few years ago they were not strict about the drinking while performing thing... then a couple years back places started enforcing it. up to a year ago it was still seriously enforced at many hill venues.
Posted by in-frequent on February 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM · Report this
7
Now if only they'd get rid of the ban on porn in bars (BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!) and allow alcohol in strip clubs.

Then we'd be even with Portland.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on February 5, 2010 at 12:26 PM · Report this
8
Fnarf @ 3: I think "obvious venues" was the key...bars/clubs that had felt the Wrath of Carr were really militant about adhering to the rule.
Posted by gnossos on February 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM · Report this
9
We'll wait and see if these agreements improve things. Less noise and violence would go a long way towards erasing existing nightlife vs. Community friction and mutual suspicion.

Still it may be a little too cozy. I really have doubts that Holmes is negotiating that all that hard with the group that put him in office. I get that any industry willl naturally resist regulation but, the situation reminds me of the energy lobby writing their own legislation under Bush

Are these agreements online? Who spoke for the neighborhoods and what did they say?
Posted by Zander on February 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM · Report this
chrisrnps 10
@1 - shush! I can't stomach inflicting my horrible music on an audience without at least a couple beers in me.
Posted by chrisrnps http://www.dollfactory.org on February 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM · Report this
11
Here's a great rule of thumb: If you're thinking about moving in, and you see a bar next door, you'd better believe it's going to be noisy. Hell, unless your surroundings are completely zoned for residential space, you'd better expect some noise at night.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on February 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM · Report this
12
At the Crocodile last saturday, the bands were very carefully following this stupid no-drinking rule, while making fun of it and pointing out that Portland is much more reasonable.
Posted by goreedgo on February 5, 2010 at 1:32 PM · Report this
13
Can't wait til the gunfire erupts again.....don't blame hip-hop!
Posted by Davy Jones on February 5, 2010 at 1:35 PM · Report this
14
I gig around town a lot. There are times where you can get away with drinking on stage, but the majority of the spots I play at strictly enforce the no booze on stage rule. It is completely lame.
Posted by no name on February 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM · Report this
15
Portland: you can drink onstage, smoke inside...but you can't pump your own gas?
Posted by tiktok on February 5, 2010 at 2:31 PM · Report this
16
The WSLCB rule applies to ALL "contract employees" - bands, entertainers and DJ's. WSLCB still brings this rule up on a regular basis. My last reminder was just a few months ago.

Daddy Jeff
Cuff Security Manager
Posted by Daddy Jeff on February 5, 2010 at 4:36 PM · Report this
17
The WSLCB rule applies to ALL "contract employees" - bands, entertainers and DJ's. WSLCB still brings this rule up on a regular basis. My last reminder was just a few months ago.

Daddy Jeff
Cuff Security Manager
Posted by Daddy Jeff on February 5, 2010 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 18
@15 - well smoking, drinking and pumping gas all at the same time tends to lead to explosions.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 5, 2010 at 5:21 PM · Report this

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