Downtown Prepares for New Year's Eve Drinkers
Ring in 2011 safely by following a few of these tips from Birmingham Police and local bartenders.
It's New Year's Eve, and while many will be toasting 2011's arrival with champagne tonight, it is still the season for overindulging.
However, Birmingham police and local bars don't expect any major drinking-related problems, with the city dealing with only a few problems so far this holiday season.
The holidays are no different, actually, than a busy weekend for most bars and restaurants, Mark Clemence, Deputy Police Chief for the Birmingham Police Department, said. Most restaurants and bars know to keep crowds at or under their capacity and the police are able to keep tabs on all the hotspots he continued.
"We are almost at the point where we can head it off before it becomes a problem," Clemence said.
With college kids still home for the holidays, and establishments like South Bar, Zazios and The Townsend Hotel hosting their own separate bashes, police expect to see more than 1,000 holiday-makers flood downtown Birmingham on New Year's Eve.
So, are you heading downtown tonight? Here are a few tips from Birmingham Police and local bartenders on staying safe, avoiding public intoxication and having the best night possible.
- The biggest problem with holiday troublemakers is the fights that result after they leave a bar or restaurant, with closing time being the most popular time for fights, Clemence said. These people may be waiting for their cars or about to walk home, said Cmdr. Terry Kiernan. "They've enjoyed themselves throughout the evening, they are standing outside waiting, one thing leads to another and that's when problems occur," Clemence said.
- Underage drinking can also surface on busy nights like New Year's Eve, especially with most college and high school students still on break. This usually isn't a problem, Kiernan says, but the influx of 18- to 20-year-olds may add to the size of the crowd.
- On a good note, Clemence noted that standard driving-related violations, such as DUIs, don't tend to spike much during the holidays. "I personally try to keep an eye on people, call a cab for them if I need to, and I think valets make for a good last checkpoint," said John Hunger, bartender at Dick O'Dows.
- Both Hunger and Bob Fowler, bartender at South Bar, recommend calling a cab if you've been drinking too much, specifically Michigan Green Cabs at 1-877-476-8294 or The Designate at 1-888-929-8282. In fact, The Designate will send you two drivers: one to drive home the intoxicated caller, the other to drive their car home.