You are here

How Many Don'ts Does It Take ...

May 6, 2009

The Washington Post
Friday, May 1, 2009

Marc Fisher, Columnist, The Washington Post

How Many Don'ts Does It Take To Ruin A Friday Night?

Restaurants and bars pour big money into their images -- the logo on the sign outside, the look inside, the acoustics. Then along comes the government to order nightspots to clutter up their showcase entryways with signs announcing that the establishment doesn't serve anyone under 21, that pregnant women shouldn't drink, that the business doesn't discriminate and that people shouldn't smoke.

Now, the District's Alcoholic Beverage Control board wants to add one more sign to the flurry of announcements greeting folks headed out for a good time: Board member Mital Gandhi has proposed that all eateries and bars licensed in the city be required to post a sign saying "Please do not drink and drive. Driving While Intoxicated or Under the Influence is illegal in the District of Columbia."

To Andrew Kline, who represents the city's restaurant association, enough is enough: "You get to the point where there are so many signs -- there is something called 'message clutter.'" Kline will argue against the new sign when the ABC board holds a hearing on the proposal on Wednesday.

Kline says city agencies have gotten so sign-happy that many of his clients now have to find a place for five signs -- the three listed above, plus one that says how many people can fit in the place, and another big red one that alerts the community whenever a liquor license is up for renewal. Read the full story.