Bars in seven California cities move closer to a 4 a.m. last call

Your ability to bar hop until 4 a.m. hinges on Gov. Jerry Brown.

The California Legislature on Thursday sent Brown a bill to allow bars in seven California cities, including Sacramento, offer a later last call.

“It is a really overdue bill,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat who introduced Senate Bill 905. “California right now has a one-size fits all approach to last call where every bar and night club and restaurant in the state has to stop serving at 2 a.m., whether you’re in downtown LA or in rural area. It makes sense to give our local communities some flexibility.”

Also backed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the bill establishes a pilot program in Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Long Beach and Palm Springs. Steinberg has said later bar service would boost the local economy, increase tourism and make Sacramento a more appealing “destination city.” The bill is supported by business and tourism groups in the selected cities. Opponents worry the extended hours would lead to more drunk driving and place a greater burden on law enforcement.

The cities would begin permitting bars, restaurants and nightclubs to apply for licenses as early as 2021. The program would end in 2026 unless lawmakers act to extend or expand it.

Wiener carried a broader proposal last year — allowing every city in California to license bars to serve alcohol until 4 a.m — but it failed to get to Brown’s desk.

The Assembly approved the scaled back proposal Wednesday with a 51-22 vote. The Senate signed off on Thursday, 28-8, to send the bill to Brown.

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