If you were around in the 90s, then no doubt you might have heard the song “Closing Time” by the band Semisonic. It became the “last call” anthem for many a bar and other establishment serving alcohol. Last call in California is currently 2 a.m., but there is legislation aimed at extending it to 4 a.m. Like all legislation, it has supporters and those not so keen on allowing bars and other places to serve 2 hours longer, as the LA Times reports.
2 a.m. has been closing time in California ever since the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment some 80 years ago. California isn’t alone in choosing 2 a.m. as the time that the liquor must cease flowing. Colorado, Iowa, Texas, and two dozen other states thought 2 a.m. was the perfect time to cease the serving of libations. New York and a few other states decided 4 a.m. was a good time. Some states have no state statutes on when alcohol must stop being served.
Many states allow flexibility to cities and counties to set their own last call laws, which is why bars in New Orleans can party 24/7 but nearby Baton Rouge has to call it quits at 2 a.m.
Senate Bill 384 would give that local power to cities and counties in California, allowing bars, night clubs, and restaurants to continue to serve between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. if the jurisdiction permits it.
Law enforcement authorities express concerns, along with community activists, that extending hours will lead to more drunk driving and more partying. However, supporters say that 2 a.m. is very early, especially in places with a lively night life, like Los Angeles, Hollywood, and San Francisco.
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