LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Albemarle needs bars

In a council meeting discussing code changes that would allow for downtown bars, Dr. Bramlett made an honest, respectable proposition that “I don’t see a bar as being anywhere but a place to go get drunk.” However, I counter that bars have been the birthplace of much American innovation. The inspired and uninspired both drink.

Bars were the original social networking in America. Some examples would be the Sons of Liberty having met in Green Dragon Tavern when contemplating what would become the Boston Tea Party; George Washington and John Adams met the first time at City Tavern in Philadelphia; Abraham Lincoln was a bar tender in New Salem, Illinois; and the USMC was birthed in Tun Tavern.

Why not meet for tea or coffee? Why not meet in the library?
A well run and maintained bar offers an atmosphere for a most excellent understanding of the social aspect of a city.

Who are the people and what do they think? Lawyers, laborers, doctors and joggers meet together at the bar. They learn from each other and they are introduced to new thoughts where iron can sharpen iron.

Entrepreneurs appreciate bars. When I entered new towns, the first place I would go was to a bar, not because I craved some ungodly poison, but because I wanted to hear what was happening, and more importantly, what people really wanted to happen in town. I gained insight and I had people introduce me to other people with similar interests. Business blossomed like a fresh burst of green after the summer rain.

No one can promise you a problem free city. As Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but increase comes by the strength of an ox.”

I encourage the city not to sacrifice a positive bar environment for an unrealistic philosophy that prohibiting liquor will keep downtown free of problems. It won’t, but it could hinder local innovation.

Mr. Hicks, whom I have no connection to, has proven that he can maintain a positive business that has alcohol as its primary offering. It is doubtful that offering delicious whisky with the cigars available is going to create a ruckus. Such environments are more conducive to creating friendships, invention, businesses and stronger sense of community.

Downtowns are built for bars. The concentration is less straining on public safety resources. It is one of the densest zones because downtown is the place you go to be around others. Downtown isn’t for those who want to be alone after 5 o’clock. So why not open it up to one of America’s original and most well established social traditions?

I respect the concern. However, the stigma does not truly fit the reality. Albemarle has a growing, intelligent and innovative people arising, and they will appreciate the fellowship with added choices.

Thank you for looking after Albemarle, and I welcome you to a drink and a discussion anytime.

I’ll buy you a water.

Bryan Maples
Albemarle