A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 13, 2013
“You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” (bar saying at closing time)

"You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” is what a bar manager might say to his last remaining customers at closing time. “In the old days, the cry in the joints, when they were ready to close, was ‘you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here’” was cited in print in 1944. “You don’t have to go home (but you can’t stay here)” was the title of at least two songs in the 1990s.


5 March 1944, Boston (MA) Herald, “Stranded Tourists Discover Miami’s Palms Have Fingers,” pg. 19, col. 3:
In the old days, the cry in the joints, when they were ready to close, was “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

1 January 1948, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “A Correspondent’s Notebook” by Hal Boyle, pg. 4-A, col. 4
The sign said:

“You don’t have to go home—but you can’t stay here. Happy New Year!”

1 May 1960, Boston (MA) Globe, Padlocking of Glass Hat Leaves After-Hour Drinkers No Place to Go But Home” by Arthur Siegel, pg. 72:
A voice would call out, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

11 August 1964, Record American (Boston, MA), “After-Hours Sale of Liquor Charge Made,” pg. 8, cols. 2-3:
A State Police office and a State Policewoman were on the premises when the Glass Hut was raided in 1960. They reported George Tecci, as was his custom, notified the patrons just before 1 a. m., “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

16 May 1993, Chicago (IL) Sun-Times, “After All Those Happy Hours, ‘Cheers’ Is Finally Tapped Out” by Lon Grahnke, pg. 4: 
As real bartenders say at closing time, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

7 June 1993, Boston (MA) Herald, “In the name of God, hit the road Ray & don’t look back” by Howie Carr, pg. 6:
Or, to use the famous last-call line, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Class of ‘96
Author: Osborne Brothers.
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Pinecastle/Webco, 1996.
Edition/Format: Music CD : CD audio : English
Contents:
You don’t have to go home (but you can’t stay here)

OCLC WorldCat record
The journey
Author: Oak Ridge Boys (Musical group)
Publisher: Brentwood, TN : Spring Hill, 2004.
Edition/Format: Music CD : CD audio : Country music : English
Contents:
You don’t have to go home (but you can’t stay here)

YouTube
Gretchen Wilson-You Don’t Have to Go Home
Alyssa Bush
Uploaded on Jul 20, 2010
lyrics:
Well, they’re flickin on the bar lights
Bands playin one last song
And if you want another round better order it now
It’s last call
Crowds still rockin and its 2:01
The bartenders screamin at the top of his lungs

Chorus
You don’t have to go home
But you can’t stay here

OCLC WorldCat record
Closing Time: You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here
Author: R D Bernstein; J C Dugan; L M Addison
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: BUSINESS LAWYER, 67, no. 4, (2012): 957-976
Database: British Library Serials

KentSterling.com
What I Learned – From Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks
Written on June 11, 2013 by kentsterling
(...)
Being fired is a little like the old saying at closing time of a bar, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” Being fired doesn’t mean you can’t work – just that you can’t work there anymore.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Thursday, June 13, 2013 • Permalink