The title is a bit of a misnomer; Not all bars were closed, and the ones that were, were not closed ALL weekend. Just last night, Sunday. Allow me to begin from the beginning, as these stories often require. In my line of work (tour guide), I have the brilliant luxury and opportunity to take customers to places that I, and popular vote from past customers, deem to be the best bars in town. These are places that do not charge a cover, do not have ridiculously expensive drinks, and do not have a crowd that is prone to violence, unlike a couple of other unnamed hot spots in the vicinity. They DO have quick service, quality bartenders, friendly prices, and creative atmospheres. One is on the upper- most fire escape of one of the tallest buildings in town, another is set inside of an old bank, with the lounge area inside of the vault, while a third is below ground and looks like the beer cellar of a Belgian Abby. There are several others ranging from an Irish Pub to a dive-bar that frequently has Chubby Checkers playing on the juke-box.
Labor Day weekend is very busy here, as it is often used to mark the end of balmy summer nights (case in point, night-time temperatures will begin dropping into the 50′s for the first time since Spring, starting this week). There is a last push of the Summer crowd spending their evenings out on the town, as soon they will be going home earlier and earlier as the temperature wanes. This push was noticeable last night as I strolled through the streets with my sophisticated group of travelers, moving from bar to bar. Or at least, that was the plan; Half of my usual bar stops were closed early(prior to 9pm), due to it being a Sunday. Typically, this is not surprising, as Sundays are traditionally slow in these parts. However, it being a Holiday weekend, the streets were bustling. Combine that with an Art Festival covering several downtown blocks, and there were likely several hundred people on the streets, looking for somewhere to go after the festivities wound down in the traditional locales. This was especially obvious in the bars that remained open, as they were packed beyond capacity, with lines four or five people deep along the entire length of the bar. Normally this crowd would be spread out, but last night it was not the case, and it proved to be frustrating trying to navigate through the throngs of the masses.
Perhaps I was expecting too much, when I figured that my regular haunts would be open on a Sunday evening. However, I think it makes good business sense to take customers any day of the week, especially if they are in abundance like they were last night. Of the dozen bars that I pass on my tour route, 3 were closed, and 8* of the remaining 9 were well past capacity. The winners of the night-time economic surge are obvious.
*1 bar not at capacity was the specialty beer joint, which has two floors that can accomodate 50 people each. First floor was full, basement level was at about three quarters.