Dear Crabby,

I’ve lived in Yakima almost 15 years and love being here.

I love the people, the weather, the land, recreation opportunities, no traffic or parking meters. And I never regret moving here to dry out from the Seattle rain. While Seattle has so much more to offer, it’s simply not worth the pain of driving among a bunch of rude, ignorant jerkfaces who think I’m going to steal their child if traffic patterns put me one car ahead of them.

The point is, I don’t like driving to Seattle for entertainment, and I’m thrilled Yakima is stepping up its game in that area. But why do all the restaurants and bars close so damn early? Especially on weekend nights.

Countless times my wife and I find ourselves driving aimlessly around looking for some place to grab a nightcap or play a game and come up empty and it’s ONLY 11 p.m.! I’m not a night owl and not that young either (CDs did not exist growing up) but come on, it’s a weekend.

I’m originally from Chicago, and what a nightlife pulsed through that city. Now, I’m not looking for anything like that; hell, I couldn’t keep that pace up anymore. I just want a place to grab a table or a stool for a drink after 10 or 11 p.m.

Last weekend, my wife and I went to an 8:30 movie and grabbed a drink beforehand. We wanted to return after the show, but the bartender said they close about 10 — which is later than normal because, after all, it’s Friday night. When I asked why so early, she said it’s because people don’t show up much after that.

So maybe that’s it! It’s not the restaurants’ fault, it’s all the people of Yakima calling it a night after 10 p.m. Or maybe it’s a Catch-22: People don’t stay out late because there’s nowhere to go, and bars close early because there is no one out late. Remember “Build it and they will come”? Well, perhaps if bars and restaurants would stay open later, the people would come.

Sincerely, No Night Owl

Dear No Night,

Look, I get what you’re saying; a lot of my favorite spots in Yakima close earlier than I’d like. But I think you’re either being disingenuous (or maybe too picky) in suggesting everything is closed by 11.

If you just want “to grab a table or a stool” after 11 p.m. there are plenty of places to do that. A lot of them are dives, but if you’re a degenerate like me (or if you just enjoy the company of degenerates) that’s not really a bad thing. I suggest you familiarize yourself with Brews & Cues, The Little Dutch Inn and Bill’s Place, all of which are open late and all of which are great places to grab a nightcap. They’re the kind of bars where you’ll be left alone if you want to be. But they’re also the kind of places where you can meet some real characters and mix it up a little.

Those are just my three favorites. There are plenty of others.

Alternately, you can go for what I call “the dumb man’s nightcap,” which is when you pick up a six-pack on your way home, then drive through Taco Bell for a Five-Dollar Chalupa-dilla-rito Combo Box or whatever. Then you get home, have a beer with your garbage food, open a second beer, fall immediately asleep on the couch, wake up sweaty at 4 a.m., consider finishing that beer, decide against it and stumble to bed.

Hope that helps.

Sincerely, Crabby