The Washington Post

What does daylight saving time mean for your Saturday night?

A passenger on the escalator at Wheaton Metro Station. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post) Last train home: Bars can stay open until 4 a.m. on Sunday, but Metro will close between 1 and 2 a.m. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

At 2 a.m. Sunday, the clock on your smartphone will automatically fast forward to 3 a.m. This is the beginning of daylight saving time, where we trade an hour of sleep for an extra hour of sunlight.

This year, we might gain an hour of partying.

Up until 2013, D.C. bars were forced to close as soon as 2 a.m. became 3 a.m., because that’s when all alcohol consumption must end. (An official with the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration once told me it was a tradeoff: Bars lost an hour of sales in the spring when daylight saving time began, but gained an hour in the fall, when clocks switched back to standard time.)

Last year, any bars that wanted to stay open until 4 a.m. were required to apply for permission for the extra hour, and then pay a $200 fee to the city. More than 60 participated -- a small percentage of D.C.’s licensed establishments.

This year, the process changed again, thanks to the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Act of 2012. Every bar and restaurant in Washington can stay open until 4 a.m. Sunday, as long as the bar in question hasn’t signed a “settlement agreement” with its neighborhood that limits its operating hours. This is done on a case-by-case basis, so it’s possible that one bar may have to close at 3 a.m. while neighboring establishments keep going until 4. If in doubt, call the bar before you head out.

Even though bars can stay open later, Metro is following its standard practice for daylight saving time. According to a press release: “At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 9, all clocks will be moved ahead one hour. When that happens, it will become 3 a.m. EDT (new time) and the Metrorail system will close.” If you’re depending on Metro for a ride home, you’re going to have to get to a station between 1 and 2 a.m. for the last train of the night. Without Metro’s late-night service, I have a feeling you’ll see Uber surge pricing between 3 and 4 a.m. Plan ahead.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.



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