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The Atlanta Mayor Is Creating the City’s First ‘Nightlife Division’

Andre Dickens announces the formation of a “nightlife division” to crack down on nuisance businesses after hours, including clubs and bars operating without liquor licenses or with a history of “high crime in and around them”

The Atlanta skyline from the Jackson Street Bridge
Atlanta skyline from the Jackson Street Bridge.
Ryan Fleisher

Last fall, the Atlanta City Council initiated a feasibility study to look into the formation of the “Office of Nighttime Economy and Safety”, and it appears Mayor Andre Dickens is moving forward with the new department.

During his inaugural State of the City address on Monday, Dickens announced the formation of a “nightlife division”. Housed within the Mayor’s Office at Atlanta City Hall, this new division is tasked with cracking down on nuisance businesses after hours, including clubs and bars operating without liquor licenses or with a history of “high crime in and around them.” The department will also provide quarterly training to Atlanta restaurants, hotels, clubs, and bars on deescalating altercations, administering first aid, and responding to emergencies.

“Nightlife is a significant part of who we are as a city, but bad operators and bad patrons will be kept in line,” Dickens said during the April 4 address.

Further details on what other after-hours issues the department might handle in the future or just who will lead Atlanta’s new nightlife division (unofficially known as a “night mayor”) should be released in the coming weeks.

A night mayor is appointed to act as an after-hours liaison, advocate, policy advisor, and overnight problem solver for hotels, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The department typically assists with overnight issues arising from noise complaints, public safety problems, businesses violating city ordinances, and helping to maintain regular public transportation for night-shift workers. Some night mayors even host listening sessions to engage with local businesses and citizens regarding a city’s nightlife culture.

Atlanta joins other cities around the country and the world with vibrant nightlife economies in creating a nightlife department and installing a night mayor, including New York, Detroit, Washington D.C., Seattle, Orlando, London, and Amsterdam.

Read the full transcript of the Atlanta mayor’s 2022 State of the City address here.

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