Will the Elimination of Bottle Service Actually Make New York Clubs Safer?

Written by NYPress on . Posted in News Our Town Downtown, NY Press Exclusive, Opinion and Column, Our Town Downtown, Uncategorized.


NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn called for an emergency meeting with the NYPD and the New York Nightlife Association following rappers Drake and Chris Brown’s infamous bar brawl at the W.I.P club in SoHo last Thursday. Quinn said she was “deeply concerned” by the incident, and added that existing guidelines and legislation surrounding bottle service in New York City would have to be re-evaluated.

What started like another celebrity evening at the W.I.P degenerated into a full-blown bottle fight after an argument was sparked between rappers Drake and Chris Brown. Fans may already be familiar with the two star’s ongoing rivalry over the singer Rihanna, which led up to a twitter war last month. Thursday’s fight allegedly started after the two rappers and their respective entourages exchanged a series of provocations. Meek Mill, who was part of Drake’s entourage, was reportedly the first to throw a bottle, to which the other side obviously responded with… more bottles.

The fight left five people injured, including Chris Brown, NBA player Tony Parker, as well as a 24-year-old Australian tourist who was hit in the head by Dom Perignon collateral dammage. The club has since been shut down by the NYPD, who is currently investigating the events.

On Friday, Council Speaker Christine Quinn issued an official statement in which she called for an emergency meeting with her office, the NYPD and the Nightlife Association to discuss current regulations surrounding bottle service. It has been suggested that the council will consider passing a law making bottle service illegal in New York City.

While this project has been criticized by many as another instance of government over-extension, another, perhaps more pressing question shines through: Would the elimination of bottle service actually make New York clubs safer?

Let us examine the argument here. At first glance, it seems that the city’s main quarrel with bottle service is that said bottles may end up being used as weapons. Senator Tom Duane made it clear that the age of using broken bottles as means of persuasion is over in America: “This is not the Wild West […] Bar fights, bottles being used, they are not permitted.”

Ok, so the city doesn’t want people hurling bottles at each other when they go out clubbing. Point taken. Clearly Brown and Drake’s posses were not aware of that fact. But is banning the bottle really the best solution? Following this logic, shouldn’t we be banning any item that could potentially be used as a weapon?

We have all seen Prison Break, or Oz, or if you live in a cave, The Shawshank Redemption at least. We all know how easy it is to kill someone with a toothbrush. Well, maybe they make it seem easier than it actually is, but you get the point. With a little help from Bath Salts, even your teeth can become a deadly weapon, as proven by Miami’s new zombie mascot. Are we heading towards a general tooth ban? It would certainly make it much easier to outlaw toothbrushes in the process. But I think that we can all agree: probably not the best policy decision.

So, why bottles you ask? Well, there seems to be more to the story than simply using them as weapons. You see, not only can you smash a bottle on someone’s face (if there are no famous rappers around, an Australian tourist will do), but you can also drink what it contains. Before you smash it that is. However, drinking the precious liquor in the bottle may make you a lot more likely to end up smashing it. On someone’s face. Hence the dilemma.

Then again, this dilemma seems like a forced one. Supposing that booze is actually capable of turning a perfectly civilized gentleman into a blood-crazed bar brawler (and it is), there is to date no research proving that this undesirable side-effect is influenced by the container. Whether served in a bottle, or a glass, or a plastic cup, the end result is pretty much the same: people get drunk. And when they’re drunk, they break stuff. On other people’s faces. Ok, ok, you get it.

I am surprised that nobody has considered forcing club owners to tape bubble-wrap around their Grey Goose. Think about it. Not only would this be a cheap, rapper-friendly alternative to a ban on bottle service, but who doesn’t love bubble-wrap? Mr. Bloombeg, if you are reading this…

 

by Laurent Berstecher

 

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