Extended nightlife opening hours – Would it actually be a positive?

The Sale of Alcohol Bill which was published by the Department of Justice in October 2022 gave businesses hope that Ireland could follow in the rest of Europe’s footsteps by allowing for extended nightlife opening hours.

Under these new licensing laws, pubs would be permitted to stay open until 12.30am, and nightclubs would be permitted to open until 6am. 

Currently, pubs close at 11.30pm from Monday to Thursday, as well as Sunday, and 12.30am on Friday and Saturday. Nightclubs can also only serve alcohol until 2.30am.

Despite the potential change being capable of bringing in lots of business, venues and promoters are divided on whether this drastic change would actually be a positive. There are concerns about staffing, increased drug usage and an increase in other anti-social behaviour as nights get longer.

Keiron Black, booker and venue manager at The Grand Social, has divided opinions on the matter. “It’s great that people want to stay out that late […], but I don’t think it’ll work well for venues or promoters.” Black also expressed concerns for health and safety. “I’d expect there would be more of a drug culture than a simple drinking culture. My big concern is how to staff it […], you’d have to double up on staff and security costs.” 

Steve Manning from Hidden Agenda, a venue promoter established in 2013, expresses some of the same concerns. Despite staffing and safety issues, Manning says the potential new opening hours could be beneficial for up and coming artists in the locality. “Longer hours give more opportunities for local DJs and local collectives.”

Though this would be a drastic change for Ireland, Manning adds: “we’ve got the earliest closing times in Europe – we’re not asking for anything unique or new.”