Paducah city commissioner wants bars to close at 1 a.m.

Paducah city commissioner wants bars to close at 1 a.m.
By: Erica Byfield

PADUCAH, Ky. - For now bars in Paducah can stay open until 3 a.m., but if one city commissioner gets his way that will change and last call will get bumped up to 1 a.m.

Three men we spoke with have very different opinions. Bar Manager, Rob Owen says, "It just doesn't make any sense at all." City commissioner Gerald Watkins tells us, "I think 1 a.m. is late." And bar owner Tom Sanders says, "I think it's people getting off of work and having a place to go."

City commissioner Gerald Watkins says he did not just pull this suggestion out of thin air, "I've been tracking the police calls for several months now and we just get a big number of calls." And he didn't like what he saw, "assaults, flights, disturbances, one kidnapping, robbery" in the areas near bars. Watkins believes having bars close earlier would cut out some of the crime.

Rob Owen does not see it that way, "Everyone is going to try to be coming in trying to get as many drinks as they can by 12:30 and then they are going to go somewhere else." Plus, Owen says Fat Moe's makes big bucks between one am and three.

Bar owners in town are already worried about profits because of the city's new smoking ban that starts April 1st.
Downtown at Jeremiah's Tom Sanders agrees, "It seems like they are after us... we're trying to have a place where people can come after work and relax, have a couple of drinks and go home."

Watkins says he's not out to put the bars out of business he just wants to make Paducah a safer place to live. He plans to introduce cutting back bar hours to one am officially on Tuesday (3-27).

If the city commission approves the change Paducah will close earlier than both Cape Girardeau and Carbondale.  Cape bars close at 1:30 in the morning and Carbondale doesn't shut down bars until 3 a.m.