The last call for bars and nightclubs in West Hollywood may be delayed until 4 a.m. pending state law.
On Tuesday, the West Hollywood City Council voted 3-2 to allow the city to participate in a pilot program that would extend the sale of alcohol in bars from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
The city is one of seven in the state that could be part of a five-year pilot program to expand alcohol sales under Senate Act 930. Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Coachella, Fresno, Oakland and San Francisco are also willing to participate.
Extended bar hours will be allowed from January 1, 2025, if lawmakers approve the change. The measure marks the third attempt by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to extend the bar’s opening hours to 4 a.m., after attempts that failed in 2018 and 2019.
The resolution passed by West Hollywood would allow the city to limit the areas where the pilot program could be run and determine which bars could extend their hours.
If allowed to roll out, the program could boost the hospitality industry as some businesses struggled to get back on their feet during the pandemic.
“Many of us have explored and exhausted our options for innovative ways to continue to pay our employees and keep the doors open,” David Cooley, owner of popular West Hollywood bar The Abbey, said in an email.
Cooley said the pilot program is “an opportunity that is not only good for the hospitality industry, but also a measure that could provide the city with more tax revenue that can be allocated to community services such as public safety.”
Residents applauded the possibility of longer nightclub hours.
Michael Delaney Sullivan, 32, of West Hollywood said he’d like to see additional employee tips and support for the local bar and restaurant scene.
“Bring it on!” he said, ‘Stumbling home at 2 or 4 o’clock – more party for you.
“I love our scene,” he added, “but I’m never one to stay up late, so this decision doesn’t help my vibe.”
During the city council meeting Tuesday evening, some residents expressed their concerns about noise pollution and disorder. The change may pose additional challenges for law enforcement.
West Hollywood has about 200 entertainment venues within a 3.1-mile area where police dispatch special teams of officers on weekends, Sheriff Sgt. Joana Warren.
“There’s a possibility it would increase the amount of public intoxication and DUIs,” Warren said. “One of our concerns is that there could be people getting up at the same time to take their kids to daycare or to work.”
The next hearing on the bill is scheduled for August 3 before the state assembly’s appropriations committee.