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Some cities extending bar hours for New Year's Eve

LAWRENCEVILLE - Go ahead and make plans to ring in the new year with a round of "Auld Lang Syne" and a night out on the town.

Gwinnett County and several municipalities are allowing establishments that serve alcohol to stay open until about 2 a.m. New Year's Day, which is Monday.

But those who are planning to stay at home with a bottle of champagne should make the trip to the package store today, because retail sales of alcohol will not be allowed Sunday.

Beverage SuperStore, a package store in Suwanee, has put out signs and sent out notices to remind customers the store will be closed Sunday.

The store has seen terrific sales this week, said Ella Vaughn, the support services manager.

Vaughn said she expected the store to be "slammed" with business today. Business increased the Saturday before Christmas as well, she said.

Businesses that will be serving alcohol on New Year's Eve are gearing up for increased business as well.

Wild Bill's, a club near Duluth, has almost sold out of tickets for tables for its New Year's Eve bash, but general admission tickets are still available, said Tom Siliven, the club's general manager. The building holds close to 5,000 people.

The club will have a champagne toast and a balloon drop at midnight, and a portion of liquor sales will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Siliven said.

Extended sales of alcohol apply to establishments that are selling alcohol by the drink for consumption on the premises.

The Duluth City Council approved an ordinance Friday morning that will extend the hours this weekend for the sale of alcohol for consumption. Alcohol can be sold until 1:55 a.m. on New Year's Day when New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday through Friday, according to the ordinance.

Establishments in unincorporated Gwinnett County can also serve alcohol until 1:55 a.m. Monday.

In Buford, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross and Suwanee, alcohol can be served until 2 a.m. Monday.

Establishments in Dacula can serve until 2 a.m. Monday, but only beer and wine will be sold, because distilled spirits cannot be sold on Sunday, city officials said.

Braselton will allow sales until 1 a.m. Monday, according to town officials.

Grayson voters recently passed a referendum that will allow the sale of liquor by the drink Monday through Sunday, but the city has not yet passed an ordinance allowing the sales, city officials said.

Extended sales will not be allowed Sunday in unincorporated Barrow County, Sugar Hill or Winder.

Auburn and Berkeley Lake have no establishments that serve alcohol, and no alcohol can be served on Sundays in Snellville or Statham or inside the city limits of Bethelem or Loganville.

State law prohibits the sale on Sundays of alcohol that will be consumed away from the premises where it was bought. Cities, towns and counties can pass ordinances to allow the sale on Sunday of alcohol that will be consumed by the drink on the premises where it was bought, but sales usually are stopped by midnight.

Some cities, towns and counties have passed additional ordinances that allow alcohol to be sold past midnight on New Year's Eve on a day when sales normally end by midnight.

•Braselton will allow the sale of alcohol by the drink until 1 a.m. Monday.

•Duluth and unincorporated Gwinnett County will allow the sale of alcohol by the drink until 1:55 a.m. Monday.

•Buford, Dacula, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Norcross and Suwanee will allow the sale of alcohol by the drink until 2 a.m. Monday.

•Unincorporated Barrow County, Sugar Hill and Winder have not changed the hours in which alcohol will be sold.