DNA Lounge: Wherein we indulge in the fantasy of a 3:30AM last call.

It would seem that steps are being taken to make it be legal for SF bars and clubs to move their last call time from 2AM to 3:30AM. I've been hearing about this for a while now, and my initial assumption was that there was no way in hell it could happen -- it involves changing a state law, after all -- but it seems that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is likely to vote to push for this change from the state legislature. How about that.

That still sounds like a rather involved process, but apparently there's a lot of support for this from the tourist industry (conference centers, hotels, and so on.)

It would also be great news for us, of course. We make almost all of our money selling alcohol, and we sell almost all of our alcohol between 11:30 and 1:30 on fridays and saturdays. That's only four hours a week! Adding even a little bit to that would help a lot.

There's a hearing about this on Feb 5 (Thursday.) The text of the proposed resolution is on the Board's site as a PDF of a fax, but it's pretty unreadable, so I've converted it to HTML here. The statistics about last-call times in other cities and states are pretty interesting:

    3AM:   Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, West Virginia.
    4AM:   Miami, Jacksonville, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Honolulu.
    24/7:   New Orleans, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, London.
This is what SFLNC had to say about it in email (I would just link to this info on the SFLNC site, but such info is never actually on their site until it is at least six months out of date... You'd think they'd have heard of teh intarweb by now.)

Supervisor Aaron Peskin has introduced a resolution encouraging State Assemblymember Mark Leno to develop legislation that could extend the last call for alcohol in bars, restaurants and nightclubs in California's largest cities. This will give San Franciscans and visitors to our City similar rights to those enjoyed in New York, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans and other large cities that allow alcohol sales after 2am. This will also provide a much needed boost to our local entertainment scene and economy.

In your email to our elected officials, it is crucial to include in the subject line the words "Support Later Last Call Hours". Supervisors do not always read every email but they do count those for and against an issue. If you wish to contact your District Supervisor by phone or fax, contact info is available on the Board of Supervisors web site.

Here are some important points about this proposal:

  • Later last call hours will help to keep San Francisco a world class city;

  • Later last call hours will create additional revenue for the city and the state of California;

  • San Franciscans should have the same rights as those in other major cities;

  • National Traffic Safety Association data indicates that later last call hours do not increase and may actually decrease the number of alcohol related traffic fatalities;

  • This proposal applies only to on-site alcohol sales at restaurants, bars, or nightclubs;

  • This proposal does not allow alcohol sales after 2am in supermarkets or liquor stores;

  • This proposal applies only to restaurants, bars or nightclubs in districts zoned for late night businesses;

  • This proposal does not override any local zoning controls.

My understanding of this is that you'd still need to have an "extended hours" permit to take advantage of this: that is, bars and restaurants whose permits only allow them to operate until 2AM will still have to close at 2AM. But places that are allowed to stay open later would also be allowed to continue serving. That's what it sounds like to me, anyway.