San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener Thursday reintroduced legislation that would allow a handful of cities to extend alcohol sales as late as 4 a.m., following the failure of a similar bill to get out of committee last year.
Senate Bill 905 would create a five-year pilot program giving six cities — San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood and Long Beach — the option to extend the hours for alcohol sales at bars, nightclubs and restaurants, but not liquor stores.
The bill, which gives cities the flexibility to limit extended hours to certain neighborhoods or specific nights of the week or year, has the backing of local officials in the named cities as well as restaurant and nightclub owners and business groups.
Wiener called the bill a “nuanced and responsible approach”:
“California is a diverse state with cities and neighborhoods that have different needs for nightlife, and we shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all closing time. … Nightlife is central to the culture and economy of many of our cities, and they should be empowered to extend alcohol sales hours if they choose.”
Wiener introduced a similar bill last year, which passed the Senate with a two-third vote but then died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Cities would need to develop a plan and go through a process to approve late night drinking hours, and individuals businesses would still need to apply for extended hours licenses.
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.