Earlier this week, California's Senate approved a bill that would move the alcohol curfew to 4AM in the country's largest state, sliding the end of the evening from 2AM and matching cities like NYC, Chicago and others. Though there are still a few hurdles that still need to be passed, we decided to approach some California residents about the potential move and its possible repercussions. The results of our rather unscientific poll — which featured artists, managers, venue employees, talent buyers and bartenders — were overwhelming support for the move. Details on our discussions are below.



As someone involved with a venue, how do you think a change in curfew will either positively or negatively affect you?
I think it’s extremely positive. It allows venues to not only go later on a single show every night, but also break up the night into sections to allow for more events in a space. The early events will be not so early, and the later events will have more time. Allows promoters and venues to have more time for booking and produce more quality events.

When you add two hours to the end of the night, you're essentially adding two hours of possible drunkenness. Are you concerned about the potential repercussions therein?
Obviously, there is a little bit of concern about if and when the law is passed by the governor. There’s going to be a sense of excitement at first, and people wanting to take advantage of these new laws, but I’ve lived in New York and know how it is once the dust settles. In L.A., I’m used to going out earlier, as opposed to being back at 3 or 4 in NYC. I think there will probably be a short time when people go a little crazy and have a little fun with it, but then it’ll settle back in. Obviously, there will be some drunk people to take care of, but that doesn’t change anything. Hopefully, the city looks at the transportation-related issues around the time change and adjusts accordingly.

Do you think this change will be a boon for the industry, as far as revenue and possible monetary trickle-down to the arts?
Most definitely. I feel like having that later night means more shows, paying more artists, etc.

What do you think are the repercussions on the East Coast, considering that we'll be waking up when you're closing down?
I don’t think there are that many. Overall, this is a new thing and and we’ll have to adapt to it, but I don’t see much change overall in the long term.


How do you think a change in curfew will either positively or negatively affect live music?
I have to think it’s probably positive, you know? There’s going to be an initial rush of people so excited about this whole 4AM thing that it’s just gonna have people out more. They can start their nights a little later. There’s a positive and a negative. What it does to L.A. is, it’ll start to crush the afterhours, because here in L.A. you have bars that go to 2, then everybody goes to afterhours. That’s how it works here. Like, illegal afterhours. What it could be on the negative side is that people will start going out later, which will affect your local openers and stuff like that. A band could go on at 8PM and people are like, “Well, you know, I’m not gonna leave the house now 'til 10 or 11,” and just go see the headliners. I think of a lot of music as being a social thing and a nightlife thing. A great amount of people just go out and see music just to be out and to be somewhere that other people are at. So, I think in those terms, that’s still a good thing because you don’t put limitations on being out, and you can party and stuff like that, so I don’t see it as a bad thing.

Do you think that having later hours is going to lead to having a stronger police presence and overall larger instances of DUIs?
Well, California had a pretty large DUI problem up until about 2014 when Uber started to take a greater hold of the city. Uber and Lyft sort of reinvented Los Angeles. It’s a big part of why people are here now, because five years ago, 10 years ago, especially New Yorkers, they had such a problem living here because there’s no real strong public transportation. Especially public transportation late at night. Our subway system here is very limited and it shuts down early. The bus system is great, but no one wants to take it. So, Uber and Lyft kind of changed the game here ... for a lot of people with cars, because they want to go out, but you have to cover so much ground here because it’s so spread out that people would either be driving drunk or they just wouldn’t do it. As far as DUIs, I think it’ll probably be about the same, to be honest with you. We’re gonna have some serious growing pains in this city. That’s an extra two hours for everybody. There’s a small amount of people in Los Angeles who know about these afterhours. Now you have the general public being able to stay out until 4 in the morning; that’s a big game-changer. We’ve had a 2AM curfew forever. It’s gonna be interesting, I’ll tell you that. I just think about people in the workforce that have to get up at like 7AM and be at their jobs at 9AM. There’s social drinkers and there’s alcoholics. [Laughs] It’s gonna be an interesting transition.

Do you think this change will be a boon for the industry, and possibly a boon for the arts as well?
Yeah, 100 percent. You know, the amount of bars that have sort of erupted here in the last five, seven years has been astronomical. You’ve got a quote-unquote artisanal lifestyle: bars, gastropubs and all these things. L.A. used to just be full of dive bars, but then you’d have this sort of the velvet rope thing. And now there’s different strokes for different folks. I mean, there’s so many bars. So, I think, yeah, the bar nightlife here is going to be over the top. And I think that’s a positive in terms of economy for restaurateurs and bar owners and things like that. And, of course, venues, too. I don’t know how that’ll affect the venues. I don’t know how the zoning and that kind of thing works with live music vs. having a bar in your venue, you just stay in the venue, you know. But I can’t see it as necessarily a negative in terms of making money.

Here’s a scenario for you that I think is even more dire on the live music side. You know how it works in New York, in that because bars are open 'til 4, there’s almost like a secondary industry where it’s like, “Hey, here’s the show, the show is from 7 to 12, and here’s the afterparty that lasts from 12 to 4.”
Again, that goes into the growing pains. That goes into the transition of people sort of figuring that all out. So, that’s where it’ll be kind of interesting. Again, I think essentially it’ll become a positive. And I think Los Angeles can benefit from it. If you’re having a show from 8 to 12 or whatever, that’s kind of normal for L.A. The last band goes on, at the latest, at 12. It’s usually around 11, and then the show’s over by 12 or 12:30. Then you go into an afterparty or you go into an aftershow. For that, in those terms, if that’s something that’s available in Los Angeles, I think that’s great, you know?

Considering the fact that, when you go home, the East Coast will literally be waking up at 7AM, what do you think are the repercussions across the country?
Well, that’s interesting. You know, I’ve gotten to a period in my life where I don’t really stay out that late, but that’s not to say that I don’t every once in a while. I have a certain amount of responsibility to where I need to be up and talking to people on the East Coast. Again, I think that’s growing pains; that’ll be a transitional thing. I think professional people have to be out; they’re gonna deal with it just like you guys do. Most professional people in the music industry, they don’t even get to the office until 10 [Laughs]. So, I think it’s something that people will just have to get used to. I definitely think it’s gonna have some speed bumps and road blocks.

king woman
Courtesy of Rob Williamson


As an artist, how do you think a change in curfew will either positively or negatively affect you?
I’d imagine that venues will probably try to cram a few events into a single evening, much like what goes on in New York right now. As an artist, sometimes it feels like way more of a rat race to be shuffled in and out. I can see the appeal to the clubs and the money involved — if you can do two nights at once, that’s more crowd and more drinking. People are out later. It could be cool for shows, though, because it presents the artists with more opportunity to play — though as a 34-year-old man, I don’t want to play at 3AM. [Laughs] Most people who are out that late are out to be out and not out to be doing something very specific.

Do you think this change will be a boon for the industry as far as revenue and possible monetary trickle-down to the arts?
I think it could foster more sustainability in certain venues, and there will definitely be more events with more artists. Whether that money filters down to the artist, though, I doubt it. I’ll believe there will be more money for the artist when I see it. Artists will always have to fight for every dime that they get. I’d be curious to see what sorts of events start to pop up super late.

What do you think are the repercussions on the East Coast, considering that we'll be waking up when you're closing down?
Hard to say, but I’d imagine the same people who are out 'til 2 and going to work and have to deal with NYC are going to be in a lot more pain


As a bartender, how do you see a change in curfew positively or negatively affecting your business?
Our business specifically — being the style of bar we are as a neighborhood saloon — I think it’s going to be more of a negative effect. Also, our location, we’re kind of tucked away with a bunch of other bars within a two-block radius. And so what we found is, because we’re kind of on the outskirts of that circle, we’re either a starting or ending location. And the ABC [Alcohol Beverage Control] is pretty harsh out here. If we overserve someone, we get penalized pretty hard for it; it’s a heavy slap on the wrist. So, I think that extending it another two hours, I don’t see that it's going to bring that much more revenue for us. If it does happen and the bars do decide to stay open 'til 4, I think they’re going to really have to hunker down on security. The chances of someone overindulging increases by quite a bit.

Do you think with people up later, it will cause a larger ripple in drinking-related offenses and rowdiness?
We were talking about it yesterday. Like, if we’re just talking about San Francisco specifically, what do we gain from this? Yeah, we get two more hours to serve alcohol, but already at 2AM, everyone in here is ready to go home. I don’t know if they need to be drinking for two more hours. So, the question stands: Are they looking at the revenue that could be generated from DUIs, the revenue generated from ABC busting bars that are overserving? What it really comes down to is one of the reasons why it works in New York and why it wouldn’t work in San Francisco is because we don’t have the transportation for it. BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] stops running at 12; only on special occasion do they extend it later. So, at 4AM, how are people getting home? Even after midnight, the bus system here does a bus only once an hour. So, now you’re relying on only Ubers or Lyft. On a personal note, I don’t think Uber needs more revenue, so I don’t know who wins on this. We haven’t made an official decision on this, but I’m guessing we’re not going to extend our hours and we’ll keep it to 2; let someone else deal with the shitshow.

Maybe some bars will stay open later. People here stay out later, so maybe they’ll go to bars later. But from a safety standpoint, I don’t think it makes sense to let bars be open another two hours so people can get their drink on. We’re already a drinking town as it is, and it’s a total shitshow on a Friday night. I don’t see how two more hours is going to help anybody.

Do you think this change will be a boon for the industry as far as revenue and possible monetary trickle-down to the arts?
Maybe music venues will stay open later, but that would be more nightclubs. I don’t see Slim’s staying open late — they close at 12 as it is. The clubs that would have late-night shows, they can’t afford to be in San Francisco. In Las Vegas, they’ve got these little dingy bars with a stage. The Double Down is a perfect example because their shows don’t start 'til midnight. But they’re also pushing a different crowd: the industry crowd, the punk crowd. They’re not pushing the rich millennial tech kids who don’t know venues like that, because they don’t know. Right now, the big thing down here seems to be the big music festivals. BottleRock, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass — that seems to be more of a draw than seeing your favorite band in the basement of the Li Po Lounge with 20 of your friends. That just doesn’t happen anymore; that happens over in the East Bay, but it doesn’t happen in the city.

A huge part of it for us is, OK, we open two hours later. That means I have to pay the staff two hours extra. And for us, minimum wage is going up to $14 an hour. That’s a huge payout; as an employer, that’s serious. You have four people on staff, and everyone is making a dollar more an hour. It eventually starts to dig into our profits as employers, because we’re having a hard time as it is because the city is so finicky right now. The good thing is we don’t have to stay open 'til 4; we can choose to close at our normal time, and everyone can go down to some bar down the street who wants to stay open at 4. That’s on them, so we’ll see.