Sunday, March 24

Proposed state bill could extend alcohol sales hours

Westwood officials said they think the proposed bill would not affect Westwood's nightlife scene because the area is not usually busy by 2 a.m. (Kristie Hoang/Daily Bruin)

Westwood officials said they think the proposed bill would not affect Westwood's nightlife scene because the area is not usually busy by 2 a.m. (Kristie Hoang/Daily Bruin)

Westwood community members think a new bill extending alcohol service hours in bars and restaurants might not affect the area.

The bill, proposed by state Senator Scott Wiener in February, would allow cities to extend their last call hours to 4 a.m. The current legally mandated cutoff time for alcohol sales in California is 2 a.m.

Community leaders said the extended hours could be beneficial for areas with a more developed nightlife, but not Westwood Village.

“Right now things get quiet pretty early,” said Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association. “We don’t have a big scene for late night, and we don’t have a lot of businesses that stay open past 2 a.m.”

Sandy Brown, vice president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, also said that she does not think extending last call hours would impact Westwood.

“Even 2 a.m. is already considered late in Westwood,” Brown said. “Some places have tried to stay open past 2 a.m., but it costs a lot to stay open so late when not many students or residents would be out at that time.”

Thomas said he would like to see more bars in Westwood and thinks the bill would benefit a more developed nightlife scene. He added he thinks the bill’s proposed change is overdue, because cities such as New York and New Orleans have long allowed alcohol sales past 2 a.m.

[Related: Westwood business owners struggle to obtain liquor licenses]

Kayla Holzer, daytime manager of the Barney’s Beanery located on Broxton Avenue, said she does not think the restaurant’s operations would change if the bill passes.

“Even if the law changes, our license still says we can only serve alcohol during certain hours, so technically we would have to get the license changed too,” Holzer said.

She added that the Westwood location, which currently closes at 2 a.m., would not be able to extend business hours without approval from the chain’s upper management.

Students expressed mostly negative opinions regarding the bill’s effects on city and student life.

Colin Rowe, a third-year business economics student, said he does not think the bill would be beneficial because it could increase drunk driving.

“There will be more income and economic gain (for businesses), but you have to think about the cost of having police patrolling later and longer and having other transportation services out later,” Rowe said. “Most students party in the apartments or frat houses, so bars aren’t really utilized as much anyway.”

Temidayo Adegbenro, a second-year biology student, also said she thinks a later last call could lead to more drunk drivers and motivate students to drink more.

Ciara Giron, a third-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student, said she does not think extended service hours would have much of an effect on UCLA students.

“Some people may abuse it, but the college atmosphere won’t really change,” Giron said. “Students are exposed so much to the alcohol culture, so the majority of people here know their limits and when to stop drinking.”

The bill passed the state Senate’s Public Safety Committee in March and will return to the Senate floor for members to evaluate and vote on.


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News editor

Wang is the News editor. She was previously an assistant News editor for the Features & Student Life beat.

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