And it isn't just bars. I'm in the middle of two books right now that tackle this in different cities. The great Luc Sante's new book "The Other Paris" argues that cities are not the playgrounds for the rich, which is what many major metropolises are pushing for, but were places where the poor could live, places with public space. "The past, whatever its drawbacks, was wild. By contrast, the present is farmed. The exigencies of money and the proclivities of bureaucrats—as terrified of anomalies as of germs, chaos, dissipation, laughter, unanswerable questions—have conspired to create the conditions for stasis, to sanitize the city to the point where there will be no surprises, no hazards, no spontaneous outbreaks, no weeds."