For the second year in a row, Madison bars were allowed to stay open an hour later the night before Thanksgiving, their busiest night of the year.
The extra hour boosts business, and allows patrons to spend more time in them with old friends while staying closer to home, bar owners said.
The Madison Borough Council unanimously voted at a special meeting Wednesday to extend closing time until 2 a.m. from 1 a.m.
Borough Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto said the hour supports local restaurants and bars.
"We would like to remind everyone not to drink and drive during this holiday season," Tsukamoto said. She said the Madison Police Department would have additional staff on duty Wednesday night into Thursday to crack down on DWIs, using a public safety grant. "We ask residents to drink responsibly and wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving," she said.
Bob Wiltshire, manager at 54 Main, which draws patrons with 18 beers on tap, said the night before Thanksgiving is the "busiest night of the year" and they do double the business of New Year's Eve.
"People come home, they meet their friends that they haven't seen in a long time," he said.
Prospect Tavern owner John Allocca said the bar is looking forward to the business after being closed in the days after Superstorm Sandy.
"We need the business," he said.
Gino Iossa, executive chef at Rocco's Tuscany Bar & Grill, said the extra hour keeps more Madison residents closer to home instead of going to Chatham or Morristown.
Friends reunite, and do not have to feel rushed to leave. Last year, there were no problems, and it kept everybody in town, Iossa said.
"We're very thankful that the town allowed us to do it," he said. "It's a great thing."
More Madison bars: Shanghai Jazz, The Gutter at Plaza Lanes, Poor Herbie's, L'Allegria