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Explainer: How come Baltimore bars can stay open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve?

Thank the state legislature, says Stephan Fogleman, chairman of the Baltimore Liquor Board. File this under 'fun facts,' or 'random trivia': It was state legislators that signed a law allowing bars in Baltimore, and only here, to stay open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve. The liquor board has been honoring the law, it seems, "forever." "It's been around for as long as the liquor board has been around. At least 70 years," Fogleman says. "We don't want to mess with tradition."

New Year's Eve is the only time of the year when extended hours are permitted, and the exemption only applies to bars that have six- or seven-day 2 a.m. liquor licenses. Thanks to the exemption, bars can open their doors on December 31 and not close until 2 a.m. January 2. So far, few Baltimoreans have complained about the extended hours. Says Fogleman,"It's one of the quietest times of the year in terms of complaints. Maybe residents expect there will be more fun, or maybe it's because people can go home when they want to."

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