Washington DC Bars To Stay Open 24 Hours For Women's World Cup

The one drawback to the global popularity of the World Cup is that fans far-flung from where the games are being played have to make do with odd viewing hours if they wish to watch matches live. Such is the case now in the U.S., as the women's national team attempts to clinch an unprecedented third championship in the tournament, which is being played in Australia and New Zealand. To ensure fervent fans have a place to watch the games together, a municipal lawmaker in the nation's capitol has proposed an ordinance allowing bars to stay open 24 hours a day during the event.

Kenyan McDuffie, a Washington D.C. councilmember, introduced the bill that will permit these establishments to remain open for the entire duration of the tournament, which is July 20 to August 20. The proposal does restrict alcohol sales between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., and those participating must pay a $100 fee and register with Washington's Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis Board. All 13 D.C. council members approved the ordinance on June 6, and Mayor Muriel Bowser's approval is needed by June 29 for it to take effect.

Overcoming a big time difference for the Women's World Cup

Washington D.C. is anywhere from 14 to 16 hours ahead of games being played in the World Cup, meaning fans will be tuning in at times like 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. for live coverage. McDuffie explained the need for fans in a meeting with fellow council members stating, "This event takes place every four years and is a Super Bowl-type sporting event for soccer fans. Local soccer fans are expected to watch the 2023 Women's World Cup tournament regardless of the hour," per Council of the District of Columbia.

This isn't Washington's first run keeping bars open for soccer fans. When the 2022 Men's World Cup was played in Qatar, the city allowed bars to operate around the clock. At the time, local reaction was positive. One bar owner told Fox 5 Washington DC that even though alcohol sales were suspended for a two-hour "booze break," his establishment would be ready with caffeinated beverages and food to keep fans fueled for early games.