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Riemer Survey Finds People Of All Ages Want Better Night Life Options

by Aaron Kraut — August 20, 2013 at 9:30 am 217 6 Comments

A Montgomery County Police officer keeps watch near a handful of Bethesda barsCouncilmember Hans Riemer (D-At large) said he expected criticism for a poll he put together that sought opinions on Montgomery County’s floundering nightlife scene.

Instead, Riemer said he got enthusiastic responses from people across a wide age spectrum.

Sixty-three percent of the 1,831 respondents said they were married, 61 percent responded that they had at least one child, 48 percent said they were age 50 or older and 53 percent said they had lived in the county for 20 or more years.

“I was really expecting some negative, even hostile response for this. It’s a way of life issue,” Riemer told the Nighttime Economy Task Force on Monday during its meeting in Rockville. “There’s just a lot of enthusiasm for the policy issues being pursued by this group.”

The 48 percent of respondents age 50 or older likely made the median age of respondents significantly higher than the actual median age of the county , which was 39 in 2012 according to the Census Bureau.

That made the results to the survey’s way of life question particularly surprising.

A majority of almost every demographic group said Montgomery County needs to focus on improving dining and entertainment options to improve quality of life and attract younger workers. Overall, 74 percent said that statement is closer to their view.

Twenty-six percent of respondents said the competing statement, that Montgomery is a suburban community and is fine the way it is, is closer to their view.

The results back up the idea that Montgomery is trailing D.C. in Arlington in providing a vibrant nighttime economy. Ten percent of respondents said they would rate the nightlife options in their area as great, with 51 percent younger than the age of 30 rating it as “not very good.”

There were noticeable, if expected, splits in opinion between younger and older people on other questions.

While Bethesda scored on par with D.C. on the question of “Where do you most like to spend time for evening entertainment?” two-thirds of respondents younger than 40 picked D.C. as a favorite night spot.

More than 60 percent of people older than 50 said adequate parking was one of the most important things in picking a place to go out at night. Fewer than 40 percent of people younger than 30 agreed.

The survey also asked about the idea that more grocery stores should sell beer and wine, a topic sure to draw the attention of independent beer and wine shop owners.

More than 1,000 respondents (58 percent) said it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Thirty-three percent of respondents said it isn’t a big deal.

  • Parents’ Coalition

    This is a completely bogus survey. It has no verifiable information. Anyone could fill out the survey as many times as they liked. We would hope that Mr. Riemer is not using this survey to make public policy decisions.

    • Arash

      No doubt he is trying to push his agenda with his survey. Most people surveyed were from his own email list.

  • Guest

    Hans R

  • Arash

    Hans Riemer has a personal issue about beer and wine not being sold at grocery stores, which is a state law to begin with not a county law. This is irresponsible because it has nothing to do with nightlife in Montgomery County. He also didn’t mention the ramifications of changing the law, which would close down hundreds of small businesses. The irony of him bringing up these changes is that the MOCO Dept. of Liquor Control puts in over 100 million dollars each year to Montgomery County’s general fund which will probably end up paying for these “Nightlife” improvements that they so desperately want. If the State changes the law MOCO’s budget will be reduced by millions, small independent beer and wine stores will be out of business, small distributors will hurt and the big box stores and corporations will put all that money in their pocket and pay off their stock holders. Thanks Hans.

    • Bronxirishcatholic

      I’m one of those over 50s who responded (ONCE) to the survey. My wife and I are middle-aged, not dead. As for the independent sellers of wine and beer, most of their stores aren’t very pleasant to shop in. I’m far more bothered by the county being in the middle of the private liquor business than the lack of beer and wine at Costco or Giant.

      • Arash

        I couldn’t agree more with you. A lot of the stores are not very pleasant to shop at. I think this may be the root of Han’s issue. He’s had some bad experiences and feels that he’s over paying and inconvenienced. The truth is, with every bad wine and beer retailer, there’s plenty of good ones that care to serve MOCO residents well. I work with the DLC everyday and believe me it’s not easy. But a lot of the times retailers and restaurants just blame the county for anything that goes wrong (out of stocks, bad product, not being able to get a product), but that’s not the case. In the world of private distributors, you have good ones and bad ones and a lot of the time the fault falls on them, but retailers love to blame the county. As for not being able to get certain products, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If a beer or wine company ships their products to Maryland, the county will get it for retailers. DC Brau Brewery is a perfect example. We just recently were able to sell DC Brau. This wasn’t the county fault, DC Brau wasn’t ready to expand into Maryland, they didn’t have the capacity. Now that they do, they are having out of stock issues within their brewery (which will be fixed). Supply can’t keep up with demand.

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