When daylight savings time took effect at 2 a.m. Sunday, several Capitol Hill bar owners lost more than an hour's sleep.
"I'm $1,700 out of pocket and the city is out 8 percent," said an irate Steward Long, co-owner of Duddington's, Jenkins Hill and the Hawk and Dove on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, after police had ordered all three establishments to shut down just as the clocks "sprang ahead" from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.
"The law is clear," said Captain Alfonso D. Gibson of the First District. "At 3 o'clock the bars have got to close. . . . Nothing was done vindictively. We were simply enforcing the law. I have got to commend the officers who were in charge here. They were alert."
The city's alcholic beverage control regulations permit the sale of liquor for on-the-spot consumption until 2 a.m. weeknights, and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Daylight savings time takes effect the last Sunday in April.
Bar owner Long said his place routinely had stayed open the extra hour in previous years, and he complained that many bars in other sections of the city did so last weekend.
"Not only do I lose a boatload of money, but I turn around and lose my customers to competitors," said Long.
Other Capitol Hill bar owners reported that they, too, had been directed to close a 3 a.m. daylight rather than standard time.
"It's sort of hair-splitting the way I look at it," said Kevin O'Connor, part owner of The Man in the Green Hat, at 3rd Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE. "But at the time I decided not to argue . . . We enjoy a good relationship with the police."
A majority of Georgetown bars apparently chose to remain open through the disputed hour. "The police do a hit-and-miss type thing from year to year," said one M Street restauranteur. "They didn't do anything in Georgetown this year."
In 1972 the D.C. Council voted to permit the service of liquor until 3 a.m., rather than 2 a.m., on Friday and Saturday nights. The old 2 a.m. closing hour was unaffected by the change from daylight to standard time.
Several bar owners and managers said they thought the ABC regulations should be amended to refer to "three hours after midnight" rather than to "3 a.m." Being permitted to stay open an extra hour in October, when the clocks are turned back does not compensate for the lost hour in April, they agreed. "In my type of business, that's the biggest hour, 2 to 3," said Long.
If Long had not been out of town last weekend, "I would have just told them to go to hell," he said."It was very rude to my customers. Lights are down and then all of a sudden - BOOM! - everybody's got to get out in two minutes. And yet the rest of the city is all rolling along enjoying themselves."