The Moonlight Special Sour Mash Wheat Lager at Monk's Kettle.

Bars, clubs and restaurants throughout California could serve alcohol until 4 a.m. instead of the current 2 a.m. if a bill proposed by State Senator Mark Leno passes later this year.

The law would “provide an opportunity for cities,” Leno says, to expand social and tourism offerings, increase local tax revenue and create jobs.

But the measure has raised a few eyebrows among community activists in the Mission District.

“It will put additional pressure on the neighborhoods in San Francisco, no question about the Mission as well,” says longtime Mission business advocate Philip Lesser.

“On 24th [Street], restaurants are closing between 8 and 9 p.m. and bars until 2 a.m.,” says Erick Arguello, president of the Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association. “I think this is a good agreement to maintain the balance between neighbors and merchants. To have bars and restaurants opened until later in the morning may disturb the area.”

Like many neighborhoods in cities around the world, the Mission is undergoing rapid gentrification. Longtime Mission residents are trying to protect the character of the neighborhood and avoid rising rents while remaining open to some changes and newcomers.

It’s “a kind of a controversial hour that we are living [in],” says Lesser. “People who are residents see anything that increases intensification of nonresidential use as a potential disturbance.”

Months of debate and discussion are expected before the bill is voted on by the legislature. A first public hearing is scheduled for April 9, and the legislation may go through changes before coming up for a vote, possibly in September.

If the bill passes, cities and counties would have to create plans to be approved by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, according to Leno’s staff.

“Community concerns would be heard when the city decides to make a plan,” Leno says. “There’s no certainty that the Mission would be part of it.”

“Sacramento [is not] dictating anything,” he adds.

The proposal is expected to bring financial benefits to cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, but it has raised many questions about security and transportation pressures that might result from a 4 a.m. “last call for alcohol.”

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  1. Bad idea….perhaps some opinions of people who live in the Mission rather than those who do not.

  2. To understand Leno’s special-interest agenda–and why it excludes the well-being of San Francisco residents, you need only look to the catastrophe of entertainment he sponsored. Leno legislatively fathered the S.F. Entertainment Commission, an agency created to spend your tax money on promoting nightclubs (illegally), even when they conflict with public safety and peace in our residential neighborhoods.

    Gangland shooting at Fisherman’s Wharf, slaying of German tourist in Union Square theater district, bludgeoned medical student at Zen restaurant-turned entertainment venue…more lives lost as a result of Leno’s definition of commercial “opportunity.”

    These bad folks malign any resident’s protest as, “War on Fun.”

    Patchwork legislation sponsored by his friends and former Mayor Gavin Newsom eradicated resident participation in deciding where, how, and when nightclubs in San Francisco operate, even until 6:00 a.m.

    Leno took jurisdiction for regulating nightclubs away from the police department, so residents have virtually no recourse when late-night clubs disturb their neighborhoods?

    Currently, Leno’s stand-in on the S.F. Board of Supervisors, Scott Wiener, is sponsoring legislation that chips away at limits to DJ’s and outdoor entertainment.

    Is this what want S.F. voters want, sell-out to the bridge-and-tunnel crowd until 4 a.m., wherever?

  3. We have enough problems with pubilc intoxication as is, we don’t need to keep it going on until 4am.

  4. Heaven forbid social pressure was applied to anyone in San Francisco to take personal responsibility for their own actions. Freedom requires self imposed restraints, not the anything-I-want-to-do/when-I-want-to-do-it mentality that is the modus operandi of our adolescent minded adults, and out of control children.

    It’s time the excuse “I was drunk, I didn’t know what I was doing” became the charge: “You were so drunk you didn’t know what you were doing, so clearly, you should not be drinking” with appropriate fines, required conflict management and behavior modification courses, and if recidivism becomes an issue; jail time for the convicted. And, legalized pot would come in handy, allowing those banned from drinking, or using other chemical enhancements to be able to get stoned on something less prone to inducing violence.

    We’re not a free or progressive society if we punish all of the citizenry to avoid holding a handful of miscreants feet to the fire, for their own bad behavior. 4 am bar closures would be great. They should come with strict laws punishing those who abuse the privilege of drinking.

    1. I respect what you’re saying but this will never happen in San Francisco – the city is all about enabling an antisocial minority to negatively impact all city residents. The Mission is a major example of this policy/philosophy.

      1. Completely agree. “Freedom” is a very tricky thing, as it requires a great deal of responsibility and maturity.

        Also, I can’t see this 4 a.m. thing going through, simply because the cops would have to do more work, and more work = more money. They’re barely present as it is, and they cost an arm and a leg!

      2. “enabling an antisocial minority to negatively impact all city residents” if that were true, people like you wouldn’t live in the Mission

        1. That doesn’t even make sense, please try harder if you’re going to be a troll.

  5. It’s a very bad idea. California already suffers $38.4 billion a year in alcohol-related harm. Evidence show that tow more hours of alcohol sales will nearly double alcohol-related violence, crime, police calls, emergency room visits, etc., etc., etc. Who is going to pay for it? Listen to the public health experts on this issue – Bruce Livingston, Alcohol Justice E.D./CEO in the Marin IJ

  6. The Polk St merchants and Board of Supervisors don’t want any new bars on Polk St because or the problems associated with them. The Mission should listen carefully.

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