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New law means Washington, D.C. bars can open early, close late for World Cup, MLB All-Star games

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MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a good summer to be a sports fan in the nation’s capital. Not only will Washington, D.C. play host to Major League Baseball’s All-Star game on July 17, but the midsummer classic will take place two days after the conclusion of soccer’s World Cup. That’s a full month of important sports to be watched — and D.C. legislators are making sure their local watering holes can take full advantage of the eager crowds.

District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser signed a bill into law Wednesday that will allow bars to begin serving alcohol at 7 a.m. during the four weeks of World Cup action — one hour earlier than typically allowed. That’s to accommodate start times that will stretch as early as 6 a.m. ET due to the event’s setting in Russia.

Things get even better for the capital’s heavy drinkers once the all-star break hits; from July 14-18, bars will be able to stay open 24 hours and serve alcohol until 4 am. Last call in the city is normally 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends. That leaves the discerning alcoholic a 20-hour window for sports-related boozing as baseball’s biggest stars descend on the DMV. However, these bars will have to register with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration before getting the all-clear to extend their days.

That’s a win for sports fans — and for local establishments looking to cash in on two major events. While those businesses will likely take a hit from a World Cup without Team USA, the extended hours will ensure fans of teams from Australia, South Korea, and Senegal will all have the chance to watch their squads in a rowdy group setting despite early kickoffs. And then, once the all-star game comes to town, they can hang out at the bars until 4 a.m. in hopes Shohei Ohtani stops by (he won’t).