Last year, State Senator Scott Wiener's effort to extend bar hours to 4 am was blocked by former Governor Jerry Brown, who said it would add "two more hours of mischief and mayhem for police."
Now, Wiener and his bill are back in a slightly amended form.
“If it’s passed, SB 58 would require that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to start a pilot program where 10 California cities would get to extend last call from 2 to 4 am,” says Eater LA editor Mona Holmes.
Those cities include Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Palm Springs, Coachella, Cathedral City, Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Near the end of the pilot program, the cities would have to conduct a study to measure the program's impact. They'd have to assess data such as crime statistics, police reports, and medical emergency calls.
Holmes says the upshot of longer operating hours is money for bars, restaurants and the local economy overall. “This bill has the potential to put LA and these other cities on par with cities like New York and Tokyo, where they’ve got this vibrant bar scene,” she says.
So will Governor Newsom sign the bill?
“He’s remaining tight-lipped about it,” says Holmes. “But Governor Newson has business interests in hospitality that include four hotels, four Napa Valley wineries, bars, restaurants, a wine store, a liquor store. I’m not implying that he’s already in favor of SB 58, but I think it’s crucial we acknowledge his business interests that would be directly impacted by SB 58."