May 3, 2017
For the first time ever, revelers can legally belly up to the bar after last call at two Nashville restaurants - The Diner and The Scoreboard. Thanks to legislation inked by Tennessee Governor Haslam just hours ago (May 12, 2017), the two watering holes can sell beer, wine and spirits from 4 am in the morning until the following 3 am. Seven days a week. The bars only close for one hour - from 3 until 4 am.
We have heard from scores of businesses asking how they get added to the list. Folks are inquiring, why are these two places given a license to mint money after hours?
Sorry Charlie. Diner and Scoreboard employed fantastic legislative strategy, hired a lobbyist extraordinaire and changed state law. With the Tennessee legislature adjourned until next year, no one will be following in their footsteps until at least spring 2018.
Proponents of the law say that allowing late night bar service at these two venues is a "test case" to see how it works. The Diner in SoBro Nashville and the Scoreboard near Opryland Hotel can serve thousands of bartenders, waiters and other service industry personnel that work late nights and might want to quaff a cold one after quitting time.
In a nod to moderation, wassailers are required to forgo drinking for an hour before bellying up to the bar at 4 am. Both of the restaurants will serve meals at 3 am, to encourage late night dining before drinking commences again.
At the eleventh hour, the legislation was amended to include restaurants and bars statewide, meaning that bars could be open 23-7 from Bristol to Bartlett. We figured New Orleans-style hours would either kill the bill or quash talk about adding other establishments.
Clearly, other nightclubs, restaurants and bars could benefit from the expanded hours. But all night liquor service is controversial - even in downtown Nashville. Memphis can already host 24-7 liquor service on Beale Street, but the city has voluntarily limited last call to 3 am for over a decade.
Although the list of 23-7 bars is set in stone until 2018, we see continued clamoring to be added to the list. Problem is, where to draw the line when considering what establishments should serve after 3 am.
Of course, Hank Williams Jr. croons the perfect lines:
Sure enough about closin' time
'Bout stoned out of my mind
And I end up with some honkytonk special I found
Just as sure as the mornin' sun comes
Thinkin of my sweet girl at home
And I need to get whiskey bent and hell bound
Stay tuned for more news from the 2017 legislative session.