JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. — Your favorite Louisville bar may stop serving alcohol a little earlier. The last call could be bumped up if a proposed ordinance aimed at quelling violence near bars is approved.

What You Need To Know

  • Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong filed an ordinance to stop serving alcohol earlier at Louisville bars

  • The councilwoman wants to push last call two hours earlier in the city because of recent violence

  • According to the mayor's office, 171 establishments in the city have an existing 4 a.m. alcohol license

  • A community meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Highlands-Shelby Park Library

John Dant, owner of The Back Door, said the proposal unfairly targets the service industry. "You can’t just pinpoint a bar and say, well, we're a violent industry," he said.

With recent scenes of unruly crowds and homicides occurring, according to LMPD stats, a debate over an earlier closing time for Louisville bars is being discussed.

For establishments like The Back Door in the Highlands neighborhood, Dant doesn’t agree with moving up last call.

"We're always the bad guys. Whenever anything happens, its like, go to the bars because alcohol is involved or whatever, but it's not alcohol that’s the problem. It's the drugs that’s the problem," Dant said.

Legislative aide Megan Metcalf said this would be part of Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong’s efforts to make the community safer following a recent string of violence.

"We have noticed there has been issues that have come up on the weekends, overnight, and LMPD hasn’t been able to fill enough overtime shifts to be able to control the crowds," Metcalf said.

Among the options being considered is temporarily ending liquor service at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m., with the hopes of encouraging late night bar-goers to leave the area sooner.

"There are public health studies that show that reductions in drinking hours do have positive impacts on public health outcomes so they reduce violent crime," Metcalf explained.

Proponents say this will reduce crime in the city, but some bar owners feel it will only hurt their business as they struggle to rebound from the pandemic.

"They pretty much basically shut us down, so we're already in the hole as it is financially," Dant said. "So, an extra two hours makes a big difference in our industry because our kitchen is open until 3 a.m."

Restaurant industry leaders said the city leader’s request to end last call earlier in Jefferson County will have no effect on violence.

"You could close us at midnight. People are still going to go out there, going to go somewhere whether it's in a parking lot or whatever they’re going to party," Dant suggested.

Chambers Armstrong filed the ordinance Monday, Aug. 23. She said she had conversations with residents, small business owners, neighborhood associations and more.

"This of course isn’t going to be the only thing that would solve issues about violent crime, but it would be one tool that we’re able to give back to the community," Metcalf said.

The community meeting will happen Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Highlands-Shelby Park Library. According to the mayor's office, 171 establishments in Louisville have an existing 4 a.m. alcohol license.