PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Regular late-night drinkers know that “last call” for alcoholic drinks in Pennsylvania is at 2 a.m., but now a Philadelphia state representative wants to extend those hours.
“My bill simply gives authority to municipalities to issue extended use licenses to bars or restaurants to stay open until 4 a.m.,” Pa. Rep. Jordan Harris told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Harris, a Philadelphia Democrat, says Pennsylvania is losing young people because many millennials like to party after midnight.
“We raise them. We educate them. Sadly, though, when it comes time for them to work and play here, a lot of times they choose neighboring states because those states have entertainment that is more conducive to the millennial population,” noted Harris.
“Yeah, definitely,” said Garret Myers of Uptown. “I think that would win a lot more business for bars, and if you’re in other big cities, you’re probably out later. Here in Pittsburgh, you can’t be even if you want to be.”
Some younger bar patrons seemed to like the idea.
“Pennsylvania has some of the stricter laws in the country, so I think any relaxation of that would be appreciated,” added Matt Navarra of Uptown.
Under the proposed bill, not all restaurants that serve alcohol or bars will be allowed to stay open until 4 a.m. Only those approved by the municipality and the Liquor Control Board can remain open.
Even if limited to a few areas, not everyone likes the idea.
What worries Jim Dunlap of Carrick?
“Drunk driving would be one thing. Fights. You hear a lot of fights, especially on the South Side. I think up to 2 o’clock is just fine,” said Dunlap.
Jesse Herrle manages the Blue Line Grille across from the Consol Energy Center.
As for extended hours, he says, “I don’t think it would be something we would even consider.”
But Herrle, a former South Side bar owner, admits it may work for others.
“I’ve been to New York City, I’ve been to New Orleans, I’ve been to San Diego — where a lot of those establishments do stay open until 4 a.m. Is there a call for it? Of course,” he said.