Booze news: Some bars to be open until 4 a.m. during DNC

HARRISBURG - It may have been last-minute, but last call during next week's Democratic National Convention events in Philadelphia will be at 4 a.m. for places that qualify.

The legislature and Gov. Wolf agreed to that and other temporary reprieves from Pennsylvania's strict liquor laws during last week's budget-funding deal. The DNC host committee asked that bars, restaurants, hotels, and other venues hosting DNC-related events apply for permits by 11:59 p.m. Monday; the list of approved establishments is expected to be available by week's end.

The legislation did not specify a time for last call, but officials said the DNC wants venues to quit serving alcohol at 4 a.m. Cleveland, which is hosting this year's Republican National Convention, also allowed local businesses to apply for waivers to stretch last call to 4 a.m.

The DNC host committee, in conjunction with the city, will review the applications and then submit them to the Liquor Control Board for official, albeit temporary, permission. The host committee will pick up the tab for the one-time application fee as well.

"We are prepared to accept anywhere from dozens to over 100 or more applications," said Jordan Schwartz, the host committee's director of external affairs.

Schwartz stressed that not every venue will qualify.

"It has to be an event directly connected to the convention . . . and convention attendees," he said.

The reprieve also allows businesses to circumvent the costly requirement that all wine and liquor be purchased from the state-run wine and spirits stores, which automatically mark up products they sell and add various taxes.

Event organizers and others said much of the liquor used during conventions and other big events is donated. And during this year's Democratic convention, other states' delegations might want to host a reception featuring their hometown alcohol.

The convention is expected to attract up to 50,000 people, according to event organizers. The temporary permit would apply only between July 25 and 28, its opening and closing dates.

For more information about the permit, including how to apply for one, visit www.phldnc.com/national-event-permit/.

acouloumbis@phillynews.com

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