California’s 4 a.m. last call for alcohol one step closer to reality

UPDATE: The bill was approved by the State Senate Thursday. It goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until September 30 to take action.

California’s efforts to have a 4 a.m. last call for serving alcohol is passed a another hurdle today.


In a 46-14 vote, the State Assembly passed Senate Bill 905, which would implement a 5-year pilot program that gives nine cities the option to extend alcohol sales at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants to 4 a.m. Liquor stores are exempt from the bill.

“Nightlife is crucial to our culture and our economy,” Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author, said in a statement. “California’s one-size-fits-all closing time doesn’t make sense. When it comes to nightlife, you can’t compare downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco to a small town.

“Local communities should be able to size up their own nightlife needs and decide their own closing time. This bill allows for local control over nightlife – granting flexibility to nine cities to allow bars to stay open later in certain neighborhoods or for special events if that’s what the community decides is best.”


The bill returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote and then to the governor’s desk. The bill would go into effect January 1, 2021, and only applies to cities whose mayors have said they support the bill:

  • Cathedral City
  • Coachella
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Palm Springs
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • West Hollywood


Those cities would have significant flexibility to implement the bill. For example, they could limit extended hours to specific neighborhoods and nights of the week as well as the number of nights a year.

Local governments would have to create and approve a plan, which ABC will also have to approve, to allow for later service hours with full community input.

The 5-year pilot program does not obligate any business in the nine cities to remain open.

Wiener introduced a similar piece of legislation last year, Senate Bill 384,  that would have applied to the entire state, but it died in committee. Wiener amended that bill, which became Senate Bill 905.

The bill is co-authored by Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia), Speaker Anthony Rendon (D- Paramount), and Reggie-Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles).

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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