August 25, 2004
It was drinking history in the making. At 12:59 a.m., a clan of college students at Dos Gringos in Tempe counted down the seconds, clinking shot glasses of Jagermeister when the clock hit 1 — the time last call used to be.
“We had to come celebrate,” said James O’Donnell, 21, a business major at Arizona State University as the crowd screamed and woo-hooed.
They weren't alone.
"I think there's a lot of people who want to say I partied the night we changed to 2 a.m.," said Dan Regan, general manager of the Library Bar & Grill in Tempe.
A new state law went into effect overnight, extending alcohol sales to 2 a.m.
Bars rang it in with a New Year's Eve-like flair. There were pajama parties and $2 drink specials. Cabs lined up.
"This is a long-awaited night for people who go out to the bars in Arizona," said Connor Jacobsen, 22, ASU student. "I have a 9:40 class tomorrow, but plan on staying out all night. I just have to!"
Scottsdale, though, had a different story.
At 10 p.m., things were pretty much like any other Tuesday night.
Not for long, most people predicted.
"I think this is the calm before the storm," said Kara Swenson, 22, of Scottsdale.
She was at Acme Bar & Grill.
"Everybody's been talking about this for so long. I can't imagine it not being crowded."
But it wasn't.
"I’ve been bar hopping and it’s been pretty dead everywhere else but here,” said George Forliani, 30, of Scottsdale. He was at Sugar Daddy’s. “I think it’s not too crazy because it’s a weeknight. The weekend is sure to be more insane."
Helen Cibaz, 26, of Tempe, agreed.
"I imagine most people are waiting to go out until the weekend. Who wants to go out late when they have to wake up early?”
Brian Wick, 30, of Detroit, where the last call is 2 a.m., was in town with his band, Catalogue Only. He said the band thought it was weird when they arrived here and learned last call was 1 a.m.
"That's quality time there," Wick said. "You're talking an hour and 15 minutes of extra drunk time."
He said a 2 a.m. last call was good for his band because the sets they play may start later.
"Everybody here wants us to be on at 9 p.m. and nobody's out at the bars at 9 p.m.," Wick said.
Aly Cohen, 26, a Phoenix accountant, was at Dos Gringos in Scottsdale for the occasion. "I'm definitely worried about being too tired in the morning," she said. "It'll probably take a few times of being miserable before I learn."
Some didn't even realize the significance of the night.
"I'm just out. I never even knew when it was starting," said Scott Samson, 27, of Tempe, who was hanging out at Rula Bula. "I think it would be better if it were even later, like around 3 a.m."