"California currently has a one-size-fits-all 2 a.m. end to alcohol service, regardless of circumstances," State Senator and former SF Supervisor Scott Wiener writes to his Facebook page — with "circumstances" referring to situations in which you're extremely lit and have zero plans to stop drinking. Or, maybe he means small towns and big cities, I'm not sure. Regardless, the Chronicle reports on Wiener's plans to introduce a bill today that would allow bars and restaurants to extend their last call to 4 a.m. with proper permits and approval from the California ABC department.
Wiener's bill resembles one his predecessor Mark Leno introduced, unsuccessfully, in 2013, but the current State Senator appears to think attitudes have changed. The status quo — 2 a.m. last call across California — has endured since 1935, per the ABCs public information officer John Carr.
A major opponent of Leno's bill, the San Rafael based nonprofit research and advocacy group Alcohol Justice, remains staunchly against the idea. “We just don’t need additional hours of business for this substance,” director Michael Scippa told the Chronicle. “It’s not like selling coffee and doughnuts. This is a substance which is a class one carcinogenic — it takes thousands in California every year — and is responsible for horrendous costs in various areas.”
But Wiener is likely to see support from the nightlife backers who donated $30,000 to his expensive State Senate campaign last year. That political donation came from strip clubs and more, and he got it over opponent Jane Kim because he's consistently called to study the benefits and impacts of the industry, as well as pushing for a Late Night Transportation plan in 2015. "Nightlife matters a lot, culturally and economically, and it's time to allow local communities more flexibility," Wiener says.
For establishments like DNA Lounge, a nightlife venue that revealed financial difficulties in December — a few hours could make a big difference. Owner Jamie Zawinski points out to the Chronicle that his business makes almost all of its money selling alcohol, and "we sell almost all alcohol between 11:30 and 1:30 on Fridays and Saturdays....That’s only four hours a week!"