Despite a petition from Colombian bars, Bogotá will not suspend its restrictions against early-morning beer and liquor sales during the World Cup.
Because the Colombian National Team will play two matches in Russia that start at 7 am and 9 am local time, the Colombian Association of Bars (Asobares) had asked the city to lift its prohibition on establishments selling alcohol before 10 am.
But the office of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa this week announced that it would not change its regulations, disappointing both those looking to make some extra revenue during the competition and those who wish to enjoy cerveza or aguardiente while they cheer on their team.
This was not an issue during the last World Cup in Brazil, where Colombia qualified for the first time in 16 years, because the nations’ similar time zones meant games were played in the afternoon and evening. But some games being played in Russia start as early as 5 am on Colombian time.
“Honestly, that’s not the society that we want, where people start drinking at 7 in the morning,” said Peñalosa in a statement. “This ends up causing disorder, fights, violence, and even homicides. So we do not approve the request.”
The mayor’s office did note that bars, restaurants, and other establishments are welcome to open their doors as early as they like to host World Cup fans. But alcohol sales cannot start until 10 am in line with the regulations that always apply throughout the capital.
Asobares received better news in Cucutá. The largest city on the Colombian border with Venezuela — and birthplace of Selección superstar James Rodríguez — has agreed to modify its restriction hours and allow alcohol sales in bars starting at 7 am for the entire month of the World Cup from June 14 to July 15.
Bogotá will celebrate the team’s games, however, by setting up a series of outdoor big-screen televisions throughout the city on game day. The screens measure five meters by fours meters and will be showing the three Colombia group-stage games in a total of 12 different parks across the city.
Peñalosa will also ramp up the number of police officers in the streets during games to help ensure security and prevent issues related to the larger crowds that will be gathering across the city.
The first game against Japan, kicking off at 7 am on June 19, can be viewed in Parque Santander (in the neighborhood of Candelaria), Parque Cayetano Cañizares (Kennedy), and Parque El Virrey (Chapinero).
The most anticipated game comes against Poland, the other favorite to advance from Group H to the knockout round, will take place in the early afternoon, at 1 pm, on Sunday, June 24. This main event match will be shown in Parque Nacional (Santa Fe), Parque Tunal (Tunjuelito), Parque Chunizá (Usme), Parque Cedritos (Usaquén). Parque Bronx (Mártires), and Parque Tercer Milenio (Santa Fe).
The final group game pits Colombia against Senegal on June 28 at 9 am. It will be shown on big screens in Parque Los Hippies (Chapinero), Parque La Gaitana (Suba) and Parque Villa Luz (Engativá).