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Bar Owners, Patrons: Late Last Call Hits the Spot

At Pure, a nightclub in the U Street area, the crowd had left by about 3:30 a.m., as management adopted a cautious approach to the special hours.

General manager Mike Walker stood at the door, assessing the overall effect of yesterday morning's extended drinking period.

"We're just trying to keep it real simple," Walker said. "We don't want any trouble in the neighborhood."

And as of early yesterday, Walker said, he saw no problems. On the other hand, he appeared to recognize, that the bulk of the crowd expected for the big day has not yet arrived.

"I don't think 2.5 million people came in here today," he said.

Not every bar was open, and some of those that were did not appear to be overwhelmed by customers, either of the well-behaved and welcome variety or the raucous and potentially disorderly.

"They're just celebrating nicely," a D.C. police spokesman said. D.C. police Capt. Gary Scott said that across the city no serious incidents were reported and no need arose for additional police around the bars.

At Billy Martin's in Georgetown, manager Joseph Filosa opined at first that business early yesterday "could be much better."

Then, about 3:10 a.m. about 10 minutes into the extra hour of operation permitted yesterday morning, a crowd came through the door, and Filosa said: "It's good, it's good."

Part of the D.C. Council's motive for permitting the extended hours was to enable the city's establishments to capture the business of potentially free-spending visitors who are expected to throng the area for the week's activities.

David Del Bene, general manager of Clyde's, another Georgetown drinking place, said the plan seemed to have merit.

Even after 3 a.m., he said "there are definitely people out and about." And he said, "all of our staff is happy . . . to be working" during the extra hour.

The council permitted drinking places to remain open until 4 a.m. for five days during the inauguration period. On Friday and Saturday night, that allowed only one extra hour. Normally, bars close at 3 a.m. on weekends and 2 a.m. the rest of the week.

At the Hawk and Dove on Capitol Hill, a staff member who identified himself only as Sam said patronage appeared to decline after 3 a.m.

Nevertheless, with the opportunity for three more days of late closings, he expressed optimism. "It is going to work," he said.

Although Polly's Cafe in the U Street area did not stay open late last night, staff member Megan Coyle said it would be open for the remaining three days of the five-day period. Coyle said patrons "seemed really friendly" last night, which "all bodes really well" for later in the week.

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