Douwe Osinga's Blog: Closing Time

Monday, May 9, 2005

Visitors to Europe from the US are often confused by the opening hours in Europe. Why are shops closed on Sundays, but not bars? What about museums? I suppose every country has its own ideas of what makes sense to close at what times. Except for the US, I hear some people say, there everything is open all the time. Well, they'd be wrong.

I just (around 11) went out for a little something to eat to keep night starvation at bay. But about everything was closed. No late night shops, no quick shoarma. There might have been a Chinese restaurant with three customers left in a darkening noodel shop and the Irish bar was still open, but it was half empty and there the kichen was closed. You can complain all you want about Johanniter in the Niederdorffstrasse but at least they serve their solid Swiss meals until 3:30 am.

And what's the deal with the 'no alcohol after 2am' rule? Bars may stay open after 2 in California, but they can't sell beer anymore. Even worse you can't drink beers you bought before 2. There's something very weird of going to a club that stays open till four with no alcohol the last two hours. In 24 hour supermarkets, it is the same deal. They'll sell you beer after 7am again.

Makes you wonder what's worse, finishing a beer at 2am or opening one up first thing in the morning at 7.