Remember that bill to extend alcohol service hours in select California cities, once a dream of former State Senator Mark Leno, and more recently taken up multiple times by State Senator Scott Wiener? Well it's back alive, and there's a new governor in office who might not veto it.
It's been a long road to getting post-2 a.m. drinks legalized in SF and elsewhere around the state, with many towns and cities pushing back on the concept, and both the CHP and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving long opposed.
But nevertheless, Wiener's bill cleared the Senate with bipartisan support last year, only to get vetoed last September by Governor Jerry Brown. Not thought of as a conservative in any demonstrable ways, the elder statesman Brown sided with the CHP in the end, saying at the time, "California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem."
And now a new version of the bill, SB 58, has cleared the same hurdle, and is heading to the state Assembly and then to potentially be signed by a new governor who is well known to have owned restaurants and a winery in his day. As the Mercury News reports, the new bill includes 10 cities in a five-year pilot program to get a 4 a.m. last call: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Coachella, Cathedral City, Fresno, and Palm Springs.
You'll notice that a couple of the biggest cities in the state, San Diego and San Jose, are sitting this one out.
Governor Newsom is no longer directly involved with the PlumpJack brand of bars, wine shops, wines, and restaurants — the company has been placed in a blind trust and is run by his sister, Hilary Newsom, and cousin Jeremy Scherer — but some of those businesses stand to benefit from the new law, as the Merc points out. Here in SF, PlumpJack Group owns Wildhawk, Balboa Cafe, and White Rabbit, as Eater reports.
Wiener has steadily maintained that "Cities should be able to decide locally what nightlife makes sense for their communities," and with the change in the law, SF and LA will join New York, Chicago, and New Orleans as the kinds of party towns where the party doesn't have to end until 4 a.m. — and if you're committed enough, all you need to do is make it until 6 a.m. when bars can technically start serving again.