Why California bars should stay open later

In Opinion
(Ethan Peschansky / Daily Titan)

If there’s one thing stressed college students need, it’s the tattered leather stool of a bar that’s seen more students than drinks.

But thanks to the worried and old school minds of California State Senate, Senate Bill 384, which would have extended the hours of bars across California to 4 a.m., has been poured out — and not for the homies.

Here’s a bit of history, during the ‘30s there were three great things going on for Americans.

One: the great depression was coming to an end. Two: the chocolate chip cookie was invented on a mass scale by the Toll House Restaurant. And finally three: The 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment which prohibited the sale and distribution of alcohol.

But ever since that fateful day, California has been dead set on keeping bars from staying open past 2 a.m. One would think that a state as liberal and forward–thinking as California would have budged on an obsolete, nearly 90-year-old ruling by now.

The bill has been brought forth before, but unlike with chocolate chip cookies, nobody seemed to bite.

Opponents of Senate Bill 384 point to hypotheticals to fuel their arguments. If bars are open later, then obviously this increases the chances of drunk driving and other avoidable accidents.

But what senators and those against the bill don’t seem to understand is that two hours might be just enough time to sober someone up before they go home.

A clean well-lighted place is all someone needs in a time of inebriation. Being told to hit the curb when it’s 2 a.m. and walking becomes stumbling is not a way to prevent intoxicated accidents.

If anything this might be a great opportunity to test out what staying open later might do in cities or towns that have a happening nightlife.

The fact that there is no scientific data to back up the reasons for opposing this bill should indicate a severe lack of open-mindedness that’s needed in government.

If these laws are truly in our best interest, then they should be investigated further. If the goal is to keep a safer environment, then adding two more hours to last call doesn’t seem like a wrench in the works, if anything it’ll open our eyes to new dynamics.

One of the main concerns from representatives is that being inebriated so late in the night might lead to some reckless behavior.

But, it might be better to keep bars open later into the night so people can be up late enough to head to some cafes and sober up instead of waiting four or five hours until a coffee shop opens up.

Besides allowing the public an extra two hours of drinking or sobering up, it would be a great opportunity for local businesses to get an extra two hours of business in. If there’s anything the late ‘30s taught, it’s to not mess up a business opportunity.

Another aspect of late-night culture many representatives fail to understand is that if one bar is closed, there’s another, murkier one open someplace else. So instead of people just going home when the bar is closed, there’s most likely a sketchy underground bar with a higher level volatility than one that’s regulated.

This 2 a.m. restriction might just be what’s keeping these shifty places open. The idea is that if someone wants to drink, they will find a way to drink.

But if touting safety concerns is what’s keeping this bill from being passed, then there really is no basis for an argument. This argument divulges into a pissing contest of excuses that the public can’t win because the bars are closed at 2 a.m.

These fears that prevent the bars from staying open later are only hold the cities back.

This won’t change the world. Two hours won’t create a whole new scene. However, it would indicate a shift in understanding and daringness that is needed in places of power. If there’s no change or growth, then what’s a city for?

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