West Hollywood clears the way for bars to stay open until 4 a.m.
Last call for bars and nightclubs in West Hollywood could be pushed back to 4 a.m. under pending state legislation.
On Tuesday, the West Hollywood City Council voted 3-2 to allow the city to participate in a pilot program that would extend alcohol sales at bars from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
The city is one of seven across the state that could be part of a five-year pilot program to extend alcohol sales under Senate Bill 930. Also prepared to participate are Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Coachella, Fresno, Oakland and San Francisco.
Extended bar hours would be allowed starting Jan. 1, 2025, if lawmakers approve the change. The measure marks the third attempt by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to extend bar hours to 4 a.m., following efforts that failed in 2018 and 2019.
The resolution approved by West Hollywood would allow the city to limit areas where the pilot program could be implemented and determine which bars could extend their hours.
The program, if allowed to roll out, could provide a boost for the hospitality industry, as some businesses have struggled to get back on their feet amid the pandemic.
“Many of us have explored and exhausted our options for innovative ways to continue paying our employees and keep doors open,” said David Cooley, owner of popular West Hollywood bar the Abbey, in an email.
Cooley said the pilot program “is an opportunity that’s not only good for the hospitality industry but a measure that could allow more tax revenue for the city that can be allocated for community services like public safety.”
Residents welcomed the possibility of longer nightclub hours.
Michael Delaney Sullivan, 32, of West Hollywood said he likes the prospect of additional tips for employees and support for the local bar and restaurant scene.
“Bring it on!” he said. “Stumble home at 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. — more party to you.
“I love our scene,” he added, “but I’m never one to stay out late, so this decision doesn’t offer a gain to my vibe.”
During the City Council meeting Tuesday night, some residents brought up concerns of noise and disorderliness. The change could bring extra challenges for law enforcement.
West Hollywood has about 200 nightlife establishments within a 1.9-mile area to which law enforcement dispatches special teams of officers on weekends, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Sgt. Joana Warren.
“There’s a possibility it might increase the amount of public drunkenness and DUIs,” Warren said. “One of our concerns is that there could be people getting up to take their kids to day care, or to go to work, at the same time.”
The next hearing on the bill is scheduled for Aug. 3 before the State Assembly Appropriations Committee.
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