booze.jpgA state senator from San Francisco has proposed legislation that would give local jurisdictions the option of allowing restaurants and nightclubs to serve alcohol later into the early morning hours.

Senate Bill 635, authored by state Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would let certain businesses provide beverage service until 4 a.m., two hours later than currently allowed under state law.

The legislation would match California with at least nine states and more than two dozen cities, including New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and New Orleans, that have extended closing times, according to Leno’s office.

“Many cities in California have dynamic social activities that are vital to their economies, but they lack the flexibility to expand their businesses,” Leno said in a statement.

He said the legislation would allow cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego “to start local conversations about the possibility of expanding nightlife and the benefits it could provide the community by boosting jobs, tourism and local tax revenue.”

The bill would allow jurisdictions to submit a local plan to the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to extend alcohol serving hours up to 4 a.m. The extension would only apply to on-sale establishments like restaurants, not off-sale ones like liquor stores.

The legislation is supported by the California Restaurant Association, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and the California Music and Culture Association.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said he would consider seeking the extended hours in the city.

“We have to think very carefully about that,” Lee said. “Some would suggest that alcohol at certain hours is not the best thing combined with traffic.”

However, he said San Francisco has made an effort to bring in more nighttime entertainment, so “we’ll consider it in that context.”

Leno’s bill was introduced last month and was referred to committee in the Legislature on Monday.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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