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Extended last call considered for 9 CA cities as SLO leaders work to close the tap earlier

Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-09 21:01:38-04

The party could extend to 4 a.m. if California Gov. Jerry Brown signs into law Senate Bill 905, to keep bars open later.

A pilot program approved by the state legislature includes nine cities that will have the option to give the extended last call a test run but San Luis Obispo is not one of them.

Jared Ruiz, a bartender at the Mark, said he could see the move being profitable in SLO but believes it could be an increased danger.

"Because we’re at the end of the street, we generally get people from the other bars around 11:30 or midnight, so by the time we get them they’re stumbling and ready to go home," Ruiz said.

Ruiz works what he calls the "other" 9-to-5 shift.

He said the extended hours, which could be on tap for San Francisco, L.A. and Sacramento, would mean extra tips but also exhaustion.

"The extra two hours serving, an extra hour and a half of closing, you’re looking at 6-6:30 a.m. getting home," Ruiz said. "It would be pretty brutal on the staff."

Opponents of the law argue it would also burden law enforcement, which has already been an issue in SLO, according to city officials.

"It won’t affect us anyway but even if it did, we just wouldn’t go there," SLO Community Development Director Doug Davidson said. "We’re a college town with a compact downtown, we’ve always had issues with students drinking downtown."

SLO likely wouldn’t participate even if the offer were extended, Davidson said, because city leaders are actually working in the other direction, trying to get bars to stop serving alcohol sooner.

"The older establishments that got licensed years ago, they do serve until 2 a.m.," Davidson said. "In the last 10 years, I can say in the downtown the city has not issued any new permits until 2 a.m. Recent approvals have been midnight on the weekends and 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. on weekdays."

Gov. Brown has until Sep. 30 to sign the bill, which would then go into effect in 2021.