Somerville board: Should bars prohibit ‘last call’ blitz?

Somerville officials stirred up the idea of putting a nightcap on bars and restaurants announcing “last call,” fearing it prompts binge-drinking before patrons head out the door.

During a meeting of the Somerville Licensing Commission, board members claimed announcing “last call” encourages excess boozing instead of taking time to sober up.

“The discussion at the [meeting] is at a very early stage … there will be considerably more study and analysis before the Commission decides whether or not even to pursue the idea further,” according to Thomas Champion, Somerville’s executive director of communications.

But local bar staffers said Thursday that they already follow best practices to keep customers under control.

“We don’t want everyone rushing to the bar in the last 10 minutes and then going out,” said Chris Morrissey, bar manager at Joshua Tree in Davis Square.

Morrissey said his bartenders don’t blast warnings for last call — they just stop serving at a designated time.  “We get people complaining they didn’t hear last call,” he said.

Desmond Rushe, manager at The Burren, also in Davis Square, said he flashes the light, but never sees people splurge. “It’s not a huge issue,” he said.

Champion said the discussion between members of the commission wasn’t sparked by a specific incident, but rather was a preliminary, “larger public health discussion.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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