California lawmaker proposes a 4 a.m. last call
March 15, 2013
A California state senator has introduced a bill that would allow bars in certain cities to stay open until 4 a.m. [LA Times]
SB 635, introduced by San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno, would allow California cities to seek permission from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to allow restaurants, nightclubs and bars to sell drinks until 4 a.m. Current state law only permits restaurants, nightclubs and bars to sell alcohol between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m.
“Many cities in California have dynamic social activities that are vital to their economies, but they lack the flexibility to expand their businesses,” Leno said. “This legislation would allow destination cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego to start local conversations about the possibility of expanding nightlife and the benefits it could provide the community by boosting jobs, tourism and local tax revenue.”
Despite the lively nightlife in California’s big cities, the state is home to none of the top 10 grossing late night venues in the country, Leno says. All of the top 10 venues are located in cities that allow bars and clubs to stay open later than 2 a.m.
Senate Republican leader Robert Huff expressed concerns about Leno’s proposal.
“What impact will this have on families who live around these establishment?” Huff asked. “Will changing the time impact drunk driving rates? These are the questions I would ask before coming to a decision.”
The California Restaurant Association and the San Francisco Council of District Merchants, as well as other industry groups, support the proposal to extend the hours of California’s nightlife.