DENVER (KDVR) — If you’ve ever looked at the operating hours of bars or clubs in Colorado, you might notice that a lot of them have one thing in common: They close at 2 a.m. or earlier.
That’s because state law only allows these types of establishments to be open until 2 a.m.
But there’s actually a way for cities to get around this, and there’s one city — Glendale — that actually uses it.
How some bars in Glendale can open past 2 a.m.
In 2011, a law was passed that allowed cities to create “common consumption areas.”
To put it simply, with this law, cities can allow designated common areas outside of two or more liquor-licensed establishments — like bars — where people can go and drink alcohol out in the open.
You wouldn’t think this would open the door for later closing times. However, included in the law is a provision that regulates these common areas from operating outside of what’s allowed by state law or “the limitations imposed by the local licensing authority.”
That specific part allows cities to decide what the allowed hours in these common consumption areas are.
Denver exclave Glendale used this new law to adopt an ordinance allowing these common areas in the city, and it specifically allowed licensed businesses in these designated areas to sell alcohol until 4 a.m.
FOX31 found at least two bars whose operating hours extended past 2 a.m. in Glendale.
Other cities can technically do this too
Any city in Colorado can technically do this, and a number of cities have actually adopted common consumption area ordinances. This includes Aurora and Denver.
However, it isn’t used the same way as it is in Glendale.
For example, Denver’s code specifically outlaws any common areas from operating between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., which is even more restrictive than state law.
Aurora’s ordinance actually goes further than Glendale’s and technically allows these common areas to operate “up to 24 hours a day.”
However, FOX31 could not determine if there were any bars or common areas that open any later than 2 a.m. in Aurora.