Do early pub closings make for better workers?

That's what a UK study contends. But that'll get lots of Americans arguing the point over a bourbon till the wee hours.

By Jason Notte Apr 5, 2013 11:34AM
Image: Men drinking beer © Radius Images, CorbisIn the U.K., a teetotaling study declared that extended pub hours make more workers show up late for work or not show up at all. Meanwhile, at 3:56 a.m. in New York City, a grizzled barfly muttered the word "amateurs" before ordering a nightcap and putting the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" on the jukebox.

The study's authors at Lancaster University insist that when the U.K. changed its nationwide pub closing time from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. -- and eventually to 24 hours a day – more workers began showing up for work late or calling out "sick." Towns that maintained the old closing times apparently didn't see such problems.

Prime Minister David Cameron hasn't exactly been thrilled with the country's reputation as a pub-crawling, football-song-slurring rabble. And according to The Liverpool Echo, he has vowed to combat what he sees as a nationwide drinking problem. Even the study's authors think that's probably not going to win Cameron many drinking buddies and say their "gut feeling is that pub hours won't be pulled back."

If they were, however, the study notes some potential benefits. In Spain, rolling back closing times from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. reduced absenteeism. Of course, Spain is also grappling with more than 20% unemployment and a somewhat delicate economic condition. Alaska, which allows its bars to remain open until 5 a.m. and still pays its citizens a portion of its oil profits, has a good chuckle at Spain's expense.

While freewheeling American locales like Louisiana, Nevada, Miami, Atlantic City, N.J., and Memphis, Tenn., scoff at uptight closing-time studies from their 24-hour bars and clubs, in a few places in the U.S., an early last call is met with cheers. Delaware still shuts its bars at 1 a.m. without exception, as do Maine and New Hampshire. Massachusetts thought it was being all cosmopolitan when it extended closing time until 2 a.m. a few years back, but shutting off the taps at 1:30 a.m. still puts it behind at least 46 other states.

The U.K. study may have some merit, but the implication that earlier bar closing times produce better workers holds about as much water as a bourbon neat.

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Apr 5, 2013 12:14PM
If you don't have the good sense to know when to call it a night, you deserve to lose your job.
Apr 5, 2013 10:47PM

Does anyone ever think of the 2nd shift workers that would like to have a beer after work? why are 1st shift workers able to go to the bar, oh say 8-9 hrs till bar closing after work and the 2nd shift gets none?

How 1st shift thinking and prejudiced are people that make laws anyway?

Apr 6, 2013 12:19PM
set and drink one after another for hours every day and live a very short life.
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