DENVER - A Denver lawmaker has come up with a novel way to address crowd control at bar closing time.
She says bars should be allowed to remain open longer.
For years, residents and business owners have complained about huge crowds that gather on the streets of Lodo at 2 a.m.
Fist fights have broken out. There have been shootings and stabbings.
Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver says allowing cities to regulate bar closing times may help solve that problem.
Right now, the state mandates that bars close at 2 a.m.
One bartender downtown told 7NEWS that the early closing time is part of the problem.
"Denver is a late crowd," said Alison Powell. "People don't start coming out until 11:00 or 11:30. So, they 'power drink' for two hours and then the bars close."
Powell said many patrons end up on the street hammered because they've been 'power drinking' for those two hours."
She said if people don't have that two hour limitation, they might take it slower.
When asked if a later closing time won't simply push the crowd problem back an hour or two, Duran said, "What we've seen in other cities, that have extended hours, is that people naturally leave throughout the evening. You don't see so many people on the streets at one time."
"We agree with that," said Brad Manske, managing partner at the Viewhouse in LoDo. "We think it would disperse crowds differently."
He said people could stay a little longer and leave at their leisure.
Powell agrees with that, but adds there could be drawbacks.
"As a bartender myself," she said, "you don't really want to work that late."
Local resident James Buckley told 7NEWS says he doesn't know if Duran's plan will work, but is willing to give it a try.
"It's absolutely worth trying," he said, "because, if it's becoming an issue, then we need to find a solution."
When asked if pushing closing time back an hour or more will just simply allow people to drink more alcohol, Duran said, "Bar owners are already responsible for not serving alcohol to intoxicated people. There's a liability there. That's not going to change."
Duran says she has the support of businesses downtown and is working with the city of Denver.
Her proposal is expected to be heard in committee later this month.