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Military members hope waiting period is put in the past

READ MORE: Military members hope waiting period is put in the past
To enjoy a night out on the town in Wilmington, you have to read the fine print. To enter some downtown bars and clubs, you must become a member. Controversy over the law came to a head when some military members claimed they were singled out, and not let in. “I live here in Wilmington. I'm a resident, I pay taxes here, so therefore I should be able to go downtown and have a good time," said Marine SSgt. David Kallam. Others agree. Marine veteran Adam Casteel said, "I personally put my military ID behind my driver’s license because I have an Ohio driver’s license." The current law requires a three-day waiting period for club membership. Bar owner Owen Dunne said, "Sometimes, bar owners use the membership as an excuse. Overall, I think it's good that it is disappearing, people can just walk into the bar and have a drink and you don't have to go through this process." A push to change that law started last year when the USS North Carolina was commissioned. Dozens of sailors poured into Wilmington, only to be refused entry into some downtown establishments. That got the attention of city leaders. "That taint of discrimination will be eliminated and we want to be a friendly city, we want to be an open city,” said Mayor Bill Saffo. “We are a tourist community we have a lot of people come here from all over the state of North Carolina to enjoy the coast, the river, and downtown. We want them to be able to go anywhere they want within our community." And feeling welcomed is something area military members are looking forward to. In the past, some bar owners have said Marines can be rowdy and disrupt business. It will still be up to the clubs and their bouncers to keep things orderly inside their establishments.

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Not afair..

Why is it we are supposed to bow down before the marines? Yea they go overseas and fight, but they knew what they signed up for, its not a sudden shock, and they are getting paid for it, its their job, just like the local police and state troopers, its their job. You dont hear all the praise for the law enforcement as you do for the armed forces. Its all a choice, what about the local Iron Worker that fell to his death while working on the job?? He volunteered for it and was getting paid, IT WAS HIS JOB!!!

No one is asking you to bow

They simply want to have the same rights and be treated the same as any other citizen. The bars wouldn't DARE keep out Blacks, or Latinos, or even gays, but let a young man with a high-n-tight show up, and you'd think a leper just arrived.

Bar admission

How does the state of NC decide who I do and do not allow in my bizness establishment that I pay for with my money??????????


This is about those "exclusive" bars that are deciding to be "members only" bars instead of general admission bars. My two cents is that if one bar is denying you admission, seek out another one that will gladly take your money.


Is there not anything more important to worry about than letting people in bars to get tanked?

let em in

I have never had a problem with anyone in the armed services at any bar or club downtown since I came here back in 96 to attend UNCW. I have no problem now with them except that now when I greet one of them they address me as sir (not that old yet). They show more respect than 90% of the kids in college. I show them the same respect back they have more than earned it.

Biggoted statement

Saying that Marines do not know how to act shows your ignorance. You can't paint with such a broad brush. What if a couple of black or hispanic people act irresponsibly in a club, does that mean that all black or hispanics shouldn't be allowed? I know a lot of Marines that know how to conduct themselves in public and just because a few misbehave, it shouldn't be a representation on every Marine.


then either A, you ARE a Marine or B, you have never been around them. I for one have been stationed with them on JTF assignments and they are ALWAYS, enlisted...YES. I don't hold it against them, the job they do requires that they be that way.

The military folks should be able to get in....

My experience with downtown Wilmington is that the bars are slam full of unruly, slap-happy, puking drunks anyway. Most are under 30, can't handle the alcohol and want to scrap at the least little thing. Boyfriends, girlfriends, drunk, fighting, crying, passed-out on the sidewalk, throwing up and urinating in any corner they can find. The sad part is most of them are ten feet tall and bullet-proof while under the influence and couldn't fight thier way out of a wet paper bag on a good day. So, let's allow our honorable military men and women access to the same bars. They, at least are stand-up people willing to give their lives to help keep the freedoms this country is founded on. They can't possibly be any more out of hand or destructive than those that already frequent the downtown bars based on what I've witnessed. They may even wind up being an asset to the bar owners because a fight between one of them and a civilian drunk won't last very long!

Down town bars

Letting the marines into local bars is a mistake. They do not know how to behave in public with civilians. To the people who are pushing to let them in our local bars and restaurants I ask you to go to a down town bar with your wife or girlfriend and see what happens. She will be harassed, grabbed, and talked to very rudely. They will try to start fights with every guy in there who is with a women. Good luck bar owners!

Amen!! spoken like a true

Amen!! spoken like a true "wilmingtonian". The ones that are mainly pushing for this change are people that are either not from around here or to old to even go downtown. Back in the mid 80's to late 90's this town had dance clubs all over wilmington, not just downtown, and the "Jarheads" were the MAIN ones starting trouble, I know i was there. Now that the dance clubs/bars are mainly downtown that puts the main trouble makers in one spot. The officers are not an issue, its the newly enlisted that come all the way here because they have been barred from most of the local clubs, and think they are 10' tall and can whipp anybody and hit on any girl they want. Well guess what, you start hitting on the local girls while their man is standing there, you gonna get a fight!!! And thats the bottom line!!

Military in the bars,,

I am trying to keep a positive attitude on this matter. My husband plays in three bands and has done so for over twenty years. Which puts us downtown almost every weekend. I frequently go with him. I have seen our proud military men and women in our bars and overall they have been nice. But, there are some out there who are very disrespectful and unruly at times. I feel as though you put yourself in the position to protect our homeland, you should ALWAYS be on your best behavior at all times. Regardless of just being off the boat,the land, or anywhere in which you as a military personnel are concerned. You should conduct yourself as if your commanding officer is watching you at all times. I understand wanting to go out and let off some steam but, getting into fights and being very rude are two different things. As for this three days wait thing, that seems to be outdated. I believe it needs to be dealt with. I have lived here my whole life and this town has grown way to much and has become way to open for the space we have and the businesses we have. I have to behave myself when in a bar they should have to do the same. As for bar owners I can understand them not wanting this to change. Especially when they are the ones who have to clean up the military personnel mess at times. Go Navy, Army, And the Marines,,,,Man up Guys and Gals.....HOORAH!