California could extend bar hours to 4 a.m. in these cities

Last call at 4 a.m. could hit bars in several California cities under a new proposal from two Bay Area lawmakers.

Senate Bill 930 — drafted by State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Matt Haney — would allow seven pilot cities to expand alcohol sales in bars, nightclubs and restaurants from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

The seven pilot cities are San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, Fresno, Coachella, Cathedral City and Palm Springs.

Under the proposal, cities would have full control over when and where to implement it. City officials may choose to expand alcohol sales to certain areas and/or days of the week/night. Cities could even choose to extend sales only during special events. For example, Coachella can only extend sales when the annual Coachella Festival is on, or San Francisco does during the Outside Lands Music Festival.

Establishments must apply for a permit to extend hours of operation and undergo review by the California Department of Liquor Control.

This isn’t Wiener’s first attempt to extend the last call. The legislature passed a similar measure in 2018, but the then government vetoed it. Jerry Brown, who said such legislation would lead to “mischief and chaos”.

“No, it won’t lead to mischief and chaos. But it will lead to better, more diverse and more interesting nightlife in the cities that decide to participate. It will also help the nightlife industry, which has been beaten by the pandemic,” Wiener tweeted.

If approved, the pilot program would begin in 2025.

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