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California State Senate Approves 4 a.m. Late Night Alcohol Service

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There are still a few steps before the bill becomes law

Bartender holding a cocktail glass filled with ice and alcoholic drink on the bar counter
Maksim Fesenko via Shutterstock
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

The late-night bar bill, also known as California Senate Bill 905 took a significant step towards approval yesterday. The bill would eliminate the standard 2 a.m. last call and extend it to 4 a.m. in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento. Don’t get too excited though, as the bill requires some additional steps before becoming law.

Democratic California State Senator Scott Wiener first introduced a late-night bar bill back in 2016. According to KCRA, Weiner stated SB 905 would be part of a five-year pilot program giving local governments autonomy on how to implement a plan, with the help of alcoholic beverage control of course. But before that happens, the bill still requires the approval of the California State Assembly and Governor Jerry Brown.

“Right now, we have a one-size-fits-all statewide rule for big cities, small cities, rural areas, that it all has to end at 2 a.m.,” says Wiener. “We have some cities that want to go later, and we should give them that flexibility.”

West Hollywood City Council has been a full supporter of SB 905, but WeHo’s Sheriff and Public Safety Commission recommended the council reject the bill. The opposition cites potential problems with more drunk drivers, and additional public nuisance that could spread to other non-participating areas. On the other hand, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco mayors enthusiastically endorsed SB 905.

No doubt that bar owners will appreciate the extra hours, as well as tip-earning staff, rideshare services, taxis, and even restaurants that stay open for late night revelers. If approved, SB 905 would go into effect on January 1, 2021.