Closing down a bar can have several effects on the neighborhood and its inhabitants. Since youth are the major patrons of bars, their lifestyles and pastimes would also alter significantly when bars are closed en masse. Those who are pressing for closing down of bars believe that such a move would discourage teenage and underage drinking. On the other hand, there are those who believe that actually lowering the drinking age to 16 would reduce drinking, as teenagers would be given more autonomy in controlling their drinking habits. Some believe that bars corrupt the minds of the youth and bring down the standards of civil society. (Voas, et.al., 2002, p.286) There is also copious evidence to back the claim that habitual drinking is one of the major causes of liver failure among American citizens. If these claims are indeed true, then closing down bars would help improve moral and health standards in society. The rest of the essay will ascertain the likely effects that closing down bars would bring about.
One of the problems that closure of bars could lead to is Driving Under Influence of Alcohol (DUI). Bars serve as social settings where people can consume moderate quantities of liquor and still be able to drive their cars. Bartenders are also trained to keep an eye on patrons drinking excessively and persuade them to stop. In the absence of such a place, drinkers can lose track of their consumption levels and can easily become inebriated. This could prove dangerous if they happen to drive their car immediately after their binge. Law enforcement officers, upon intercepting drunk drivers can impose heavy fines and in extreme/chronic cases even revoke the driver’s license. Moreover, bartenders are trained to spot and thwart underage patrons from being served. This control net to prevent underage drinking would also be eliminated with the closure of bars.
A prominent cause why bars are closed is the pressure from the anti-alcohol lobby. Also referred to as alcohol beverage control, this agency can impose heavy fines on bars found not to comply with government regulations. This is unfortunate, for often, the rules are heavily stacked against running bars. Another major reason why bars get shut down is due to the hefty fines imposed by alcohol beverage control. The profitability of the business would be seriously brought into question upon a slew of fines. Special taxation provisions under commercial law could also make running bars an unviable proposition. (Jones et.al, 2009, p.34)
There is no hard data to back the claim that binge-drinking problem among the youth of the country would be reduced by the closing down of bars. Closing down bars does not mean that the problem of underage drinking would be brought under control. Evidence from the UK, where laws were passed to close down pubs, suggests otherwise. Charlotte Raven, speaking about the ineffectiveness of licensing restrictions and bar closures, feels that “the whole notion of being “chucked out” by government edict at some arbitrary point in the evening feels undemocratic.” (Raven, 2005, p.30)