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Downtown Lawrence set to become plastic cup capital
Somewhere last night, a toast was made to Lawrence city commissioners. Downtown Lawrence will not become the home of Pinot Grigio in a plastic cup or Grey Goose from a red tumbler. As part of the city discussion about changing sidewalk dining regulations, the suggestion had been made that all glass drinking ware should be banned from both current and future sidewalk seating areas. The suggestion came from the Lawrence Police Department, which often has dealt with a beer bottle turning into a projectile or a John Wayne razor. But such a ban also would mean a glass of wine at any one of several downtown restaurants would have to be served in a plastic or paper cup to outdoor diners.Surely that would land us on Snob Magazine's Top 10 places to avoid. (No, I really don't know if there is a Snob Magazine. Chances are its subscription is so exclusive that I wouldn't know.)But ultimately, city commissioners backed away slightly from an outright glass ban. Guess they couldn't remember the last time they'd seen a good brawl fueled by a Cabernet Sauvignon. (But if one were to occur, it likely would go like this: Chip to Dale: "This Cabernet Sauvignon has a wonderful hint of black currant." Dale to Chip: "Your palate, sir, is a disgrace. That is blackberry as sure as my watch is a Rolex." It then "would be on," as the hoodlums say.)Sorry about that digression. I blog, therefore I digress. Here's the compromise commissioners came up with. Places that make at least 55 percent of their sales from food will be able to provide outdoor customers with glass bottles and glass drinkware in the sidewalk seating areas. But traditional bars will not be able to have either bottles or glassware in their sidewalk seating areas. Also, cans won't be allowed in bar sidewalk areas. I hadn't thought of it, but a full can also can be a formidable projectile, I was told by city leaders. Commissioners said they didn't want to punish ordinary diners who had shown no problems with properly using a bottle or glass. But they said they did want to be cautious in what they allowed bar patrons to bring outside. So, what do you think of this two-tiered system? Is the bottle half-full or the cup half-empty? It beats me, but I do know this: If KU alums really do return to Lawrence to relive their youth, Pabst in a plastic cup ought to do the trick for many.