State Senator Mark Leno has proposed a bill that would allow communities the option of extending beverage service until 4am at restaurants, night clubs and bars, pending a full public approval process—something that could greatly affect San Francisco’s nightlife scene.

The proposal obviously has pluses and minuses. Many have complained that as a tourist destination, San Francisco lacks “a real” nightlife scene because many bars close at 2am, if not earlier (we’re looking at you, NY transplants). It’s even worse at restaurants, where finding a place open after midnight can be a challenge.

Current California law limits the sale of alcohol between in the hours between 2am and 6am. But would San Francisco establishments really take advantage of the possible new rules? And if they did, would that cause problems in terms of crime and rowdy behavior?

Leno, who represents San Francisco in the state Senate, said this would allow California cities the chance to compete with those around the world for valuable tourist dollars, while also increasing job opportunities. “Many cities in California have dynamic social activities that are vital to their economies, but they lack the flexibility to expand their businesses. SB 635 would allow destination 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.” Leno is quick to point out that the bill would allow, but not require, businesses the opportunity to expand their hours.

Meanwhile, public safety advocates argue the staggered closing times would allow for pubic transportation systems and law enforcement agencies to be “less taxed” than they are now, when most or all establishments are forced to have a uniform closing time.

SB 635 will be heard at the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Tuesday April 9, 2013 at 9:30am.

Share your thoughts in the comments section: Is it a good idea to extend alcohol service at bars and restaurants in San Francisco until 4am?