San Francisco

Extend the Party? Senate Bill Could Allow Cities to Prolong Late Night Drinking Hours

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, on Wednesday announced legislation that would allow local governments to permit bars and restaurants to serve alcohol as late as 4 a.m. in areas zoned for late night entertainment.

The legislation, known as the "LOCAL Act," or Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night, would allow local governments to extend alcohol service hours to a time between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. with the authorization of the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

Communities interested in extending their hours must develop a plan identifying the affected areas and obtain a law enforcement assessment of the public safety impact. In addition, they must demonstrate support from local residents and businesses, as well as the availability of transportation.

The proposal does not apply to liquor stores, and individual businesses would still need to apply to the ABC for an extended hours license.

"California is a diverse state, with cities and neighborhoods that have different needs when it comes to nightlife," Wiener said in a statement.

"By granting local control to our cities to extend their late night hours, we can support areas that benefit economically and culturally from a strong nightlife presence, while ensuring that other cities and neighborhoods retain their current rules," he said.

The legislation is backed by a coalition of business and hospitality groups including the California Restaurant Association, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, the California Music and Culture Association, the California Hotel and Lodging Association, the Hotel Council SF, San Francisco Travel and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Cities that allow alcohol service beyond 2 a.m. include Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Louisville, Atlanta, Miami Beach and New Orleans.

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