California Senate Passes Bill That Would Extend Last Call at Bars to 4 A.M.

Drinkers enjoy a pint in a pub on March 11, 2011, in London, England. (Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

Drinkers enjoy a pint in a pub on March 11, 2011, in London, England. (Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

A bill that would would pave the way for potentially expanding late-night alcohol service in the state by allowing bars to remain open until 4 a.m. has cleared its first hurdle, passing through the California Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 384, also known as the “Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night” — LOCAL Act for short — now heads to the State Assembly, according to Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who proposed the bill back in February.

“The LOCAL Act recognizes that nightlife is critical to the culture and economy of many cities throughout our large and diverse state, and that local communities can make responsible decisions to support nightlife, if that’s the choice they want to make,” Wiener said in a statement.

Under the proposal, local governments would be able to decide whether to push alcohol service hours to a specified time period between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. for restaurants and bars.

It would not, however, apply to liquor stores.

In a news release announcing the legislation, Wiener noted the bill would not require local governments to extend last calls at bars to a later time.

“California is a diverse state, with cities and neighborhoods that have different needs when it comes to nightlife,” the state senator said in the release. “By granting local control to our cities to extend their late night hours, we can support areas that benefit economically and culturally from a strong nightlife presence, while ensuring that other cities and neighborhoods retain their current rules.”

Several other major American cities already have late-night alcohol service beyond 2 a.m., including New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami Beach.