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Last Call for Alcohol: 4AM Bar Bill Passes California State Senate

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Cocktails by Brooklyn Winery. (Shelby Hearn/BKW by Brooklyn Winery)

Party people, rejoice! On Wednesday, the California State Senate passed Senator Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 905, also known as the late-night bar bill. If signed into law, it would make serving alcohol until 4am legal in seven California cities: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Francisco and West Hollywood, as part of a pilot program. (Under the current law, serving alcohol between 2am and 6am is a misdemeanor.)

Before anyone gets too excited, SB-905 must make it through the State Assembly before it makes it to the governor’s desk and is signed into law. Opponents of the bill, like the watchdog group Alcohol Justice, criticized a previous version of the bill in 2017, saying that it would run up taxpayers’ tab on police and emergency services. But its proponents argue that it will be a major boon for the restaurant and entertainment industry, which currently brings in $50 billion a year statewide.

Several states including New York and Hawaii already serve alcohol until 4am, and in Miami’s entertainment district, booze is available 24 hours a day. If Governor Jerry Brown signs SB-905 into law, it will take effect in 2021. It also stipulates that qualifying cities must provide the state legislature with a report on the results of the pilot program by 2025; the legislature will reassess the bill in 2026.


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