Last call (bar term)
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In a bar, a last call (last orders) is an announcement made shortly before the bar closes for the night, informing patrons of their last chance to buy alcoholic beverages. There are various means to make this signal, like ringing a bell, flashing the lights, or announcing orally.
Last call times are often legally mandated and vary widely globally as well as locally. Reasons given for such legislation include reducing late-night noise in the neighborhood, traffic accidents, violence, and alcohol-related health problems.
- 1 List of last call times around the world
- 2 See also
- 3 References
- 4 External links
List of last call times around the world
In New South Wales, there is no specified closing time, although in residential areas bars are often required to close at midnight. In non-residential areas some bars are open 24 hours. However, a six-hour daily closure period applies to new licences (and extended hours authorisations) granted from 30 October 2008; this period is nominated depending on individual and community circumstances.
During a significant part of the 20th century, bars in Australia and New Zealand were closed at 6 p.m. by law. The resulting rush to buy drinks after work was known as the six o'clock swill.
Bar closing hours in Austria are regulated by the federated states. In most states bars must close at 4 a.m. although many places have special permits to close later. In the capital Vienna bars and clubs are allowed to stay open until 6 a.m. Alcohol is allowed to be served until the bar or club closes.
There is no legally mandated last call in Belgium; many bars will stay open all night.
- British Columbia: Last call for serving alcohol is generally 2:00 a.m. provincially, however municipalities can lower last call down to 12 a.m. or raise it up to 4 a.m. if they so choose. Downtown Vancouver's last call was moved to 4:00 a.m. but was subsequently lowered to 3 a.m. On New Year's Eve last call is extended to 4 a.m. province wide if food is available to patrons at the premise. Regulated liquor stores (both private and government-operated) can sell off-premise alcohol from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m, with government-operated liquor stores typically closing before 9 p.m.
- Alberta: Last call and sale of alcohol from a store or establishment is 2 a.m. province wide. In an establishment, a customer may have no more than two drinks in possession after 1 a.m. or last call, whatever comes first.
- Manitoba: Last call and the sale of alcohol from a store or establishment is 2 a.m. province wide. During special events, establishments are permitted to serve alcohol until 3 a.m.
- Ontario: Last call is 2 a.m. province wide, although the province has the authority to grant waivers to allow closing at 4 a.m. during special events. Alcohol sales occur only within regulated stores which will always close between 9 p.m. or 11 p.m. depending on location or store (LCBO, Beer Store or Wine Rack).
- Quebec: Last call is 3 a.m. province wide for establishments serving alcohol (with some exceptions), while the sale of alcohol from a store is restricted after 11 p.m.
- New Brunswick: Last call is 1:45 a.m.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Last call is 3 a.m.
- Nova Scotia: Last call for most establishments is 2 a.m., Cabaret businesses are allowed to serve until 3:30 a.m.
Many bars, KTVs and night clubs have no specific last call and will continue to sell alcohol and stay open provided there are paying customers present. However during sensitive times where national security is increased (i.e. the Olympics, the 60th Anniversary of the PRC) closing times may be in effect in some cities between 1 and 3 a.m. Alcohol is sold through retailers 24 hours a day.
According to the state law, establishments that serve drinks can register as bars, in which case they are allowed to be open in inhabited areas only in indoor spaces and only between 21:00 and 06:00, while no such restrictions exist if bars are located outside inhabited areas. Various exceptions can be made for bars located in transit facilities, if approved by the local authorities, etc. The prescribed working hours for bars are a frequent point of contention between city authorities and local businessmen, particularly during the summer tourist season.
Dominican Republic: 2 a.m.
Bars are allowed to serve drinks until 1.30 a.m., but a provincial government may at the proprietor's request grant extensions up to 3.30 a.m. Extensions require the establishment to maintain a higher standard of amenities, service and entertainment by, for example, providing a coat check, entertainment programming such as a DJ or live music, and even general cleanliness and "look and feel" count.
A last call is not announced per se, but as a custom the lights are flashed a few times (or in case of a dimly lit establishment such as a night club, all lights are left on) to notify the customers that serving drinks is over.
Bar closing hours in Germany are regulated by the federated states or cities. Since the 2000s many federated states and cities have abolished or relaxed regulations. In many states and cities bars must close for a "cleaning hour" from 5 to 6 a.m. Open-air locations like beer gardens often must close at 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. to reduce noise pollution. Exceptions may exist for weekends, Carnival and New Year's Eve etc. Not all cities strictly enforce the regulation.
Bar closing hours are governed by the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2000. Generally, bars must close at 23:30 Sunday to Thursday and 00:30 on Friday and Saturday. There are special provisions for certain holidays and festivals. However, bars may get an extended license until 02:30 any night (and many do). Furthermore, many nightclubs (particularly in Dublin) open much later - until 03:00 or 04:00 in some cases. Outside of the cities these regulations are typically not enforced.
In Israel there are no specific closing times and the country has liberal alcohol laws. Bars and clubs in entertainment districts will serve alcohol practically 24 hours a day, while in residential districts local regulations apply; establishments that serve alcohol outside may often have to call their guests inside after midnight or even close completely.
In 2006 Knesset member Ruhama Avraham-Balila attempted to pass a bill in parliament that would forbid selling alcohol between 2 and 6 a.m. The bill faced severe resistance from bar and restaurant owners and finally was drawn back.
In Tel Aviv, bars are fined for remaining open past 1 AM. Though few bars actually close at that time, they are forced to pay this "back-door" tax to the municipality, with no recourse to the national government. A number of bars are contemplating closing at the required time and during internationally-promoted events such as Gay Pride Week in protest of the city's underhanded hypocrisy in promoting itself as "the city that never sleeps" while at the same time fining the very establishments that make it such a hot tourist mecca.
Alcohol is sold around the clock in grocery stores with few exceptions: The city law of Kfar Saba forbids selling alcohol after 11 pm in all grocery stores and supermarkets, while in the city of Modi'in selling alcohol during workdays is limited until 10 p.m.
In Rome, an ordinance was passed in January 2009 to make 2 a.m. the last call in Campo de' Fiori and the neighborhoods of Trastevere and Testaccio. The new last call time for these areas was initiated to curtail nighttime commotion in these popular parts of Rome.
Japan does not have a legally mandated closing time. Alcohol may be served or sold anywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Last call laws vary. Cities and towns are free to impose more restrictive regulations, but no later than 3 a.m.
- Oslo: 3 a.m.
- Bergen: 2:30 a.m.
- Trondheim: 2 a.m.
- Stavanger: 3 a.m.; This only applies to venues with age restriction 21 years.
- Fredrikstad: 1:30 a.m.
- Lillehammer: 3 a.m.
- Bodø: 3 a.m.
- Harstad: 3 a.m.
- Hamar: 1:30 a.m.
- Kristiansand: 2 a.m.
- Molde: 2 a.m.
- Ålesund: 3 a.m.
- Drammen: 3 a.m.
- Tønsberg: 2 a.m.
- Tromsø: 3 a.m.
- Kirkenes: 2 a.m.
- Arendal: 2 a.m.
- Kongsberg: 2 a.m.
- Larvik: 2 a.m.
- Longyearbyen: 2 a.m.
Out of the 429 counties of Norway, almost 50% have established a closing time or "last call" at 2 a.m. Only 1 in 7 counties serve drinks until the laws maximum allowance at 3 a.m. This is a major decrease over the last few years, because of the governments beliefs in that reduced drinking hours equals less fighting, noise, disturbance, etc...
From late 2005, drinking establishments could apply for licences to stay open and serve alcohol for 24 hours a day. This means that round-the-clock drinking (in England and Wales) is now a reality, although many establishments do in fact still close between 11pm and midnight (especially during the working week).
Within the first month of it becoming law, over 1,000 pubs, clubs and supermarkets had been granted 24-hour licences to sell alcohol. A further 40 per cent of premises had applied to vary their licences to either extend opening times by an hour or two, or to offer late food or entertainment. Many more establishments have since renewed their licences. In 2008/9 Scotland joined England and Wales when new licensing laws came into effect.
Last call laws vary widely from state to state, and in most states, cities and towns are free to impose more restrictive regulations. Large metropolitan areas with many towns may have different laws for areas that are only a short distance apart. The following lists should not be considered exhaustive.
- Alabama: 2a.m.
- Alaska: 5 a.m.; while most cities restrict this further, some do not (primarily smaller Matanuska-Susitna Valley towns), and some villages are dry.
- Arizona: 2 a.m.
- Arkansas: 2 a.m.
- California: 2 a.m. (up to 4 a.m. in after-hours establishments)
- Colorado: 2 a.m.
- Connecticut: 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. 3 a.m. New Year's Eve (Day)
- Delaware: 1 a.m.
- District of Columbia: 3 a.m. on Friday night, Saturday night, and the night before a federal or D.C. holiday; 4 a.m. on the night of New Year's Eve and the beginning of daylight saving time; 2 a.m. other nights.
- Florida: Last call set statewide to 2 a.m., some cities have passed exemptions to the law, notably Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County (3 a.m.), Broward county (4 a.m.) and Miami (24 hours in the Miami Entertainment District). Liquor store closing times vary by county.
- Georgia: Varies by county (most are set at 2 a.m., while others may have different times or no time at all). In Atlanta most bars are allowed to close at 2:30 a.m., but Underground Atlanta can operate until 4 a.m.
- Hawaii: 4 a.m., however not all bars qualify for a 4 a.m. license and must close at 2 a.m.
- Idaho: 2 a.m.
- Illinois: 1 a.m. through 3 a.m., varies by municipality. In Chicago for regular license bars 2 a.m. Sunday through Friday with 3 a.m. Saturday. Some bars have a late night license allowing to close two hours later so 4 a.m. Sunday through Friday with 5 a.m. Saturday.
- Indiana: 3 a.m. (used to be 12:30 on Sundays, but not anymore)
- Iowa: 2 a.m.
- Kansas: 2 a.m. (in the 17 counties which allow bars without limitation)
- Kentucky: 2 a.m
- Louisiana: There is no set statewide closing time. Bars may remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Except, Louisiana law provides:
"The governing authority of any municipality within a parish [Louisiana has parishes instead of counties] with a population between fifty-three thousand and fifty-seven thousand persons according to the most recent federal decennial census may enact ordinances to regulate the closing times of bars located within the municipality, subject to approval by a majority of the qualified electors of the municipality voting at an election held for the purpose."
- Maine: 1 a.m.
- Maryland: 2 a.m.
- Massachusetts: 2 a.m., although cities and towns can (and frequently do) set last call earlier. Alcohol sales stop 30 minutes prior to closing time.
- Michigan: 2 a.m.
- Minnesota: 2 a.m., but many cities have a 1 a.m. restriction.
- Mississippi: 12:00 Midnight or 1:00 a.m.; depending on city. Larger metro areas usually adhere to "After Midnight" policy. Most Casinos do not have a last call.
- Missouri: 1:30 a.m. in most of the state; 3:00 a.m. in specially-licensed establishments in the two largest metropolises of St. Louis and Kansas City, and their surrounding areas.
- Montana: Last call for bars and taverns is around 1:30 a.m. However, one can purchase beer from many local gas stations and grocery stores until 2 a.m. State law reads, "Agency liquor stores may remain open during the period between 8 a.m. and 2 a.m." In spite of this, most liquor stores close on or before 10 p.m. with the exception of casino/liquor stores.
- Nebraska: 1 a.m.; except for municipalities (Omaha & Lincoln) are allowed to stay open until 2am.
- Nevada: There is no set statewide closing time. Bars may remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- New Hampshire: Statewide is 1:00 a.m., bars must close at 1:30 a.m. Most call last call at 12:45 a.m.
- New Jersey: No statewide closing time. Most municipalities set their last call at 2 a.m. Atlantic City serves 24 hours.
- New Mexico: 2 a.m.
- New York: Under state law, establishments must stop serving alcohol by 4 a.m., however the actual closing time is left up to each of New York's 62 counties. The 4 a.m. time holds in New York City, but clubs and bars may stay open without serving alcohol; they may start serving at 7 a.m. except on Sunday, when sales begin at noon. Last call is also 4 a.m. in Saratoga Springs, Buffalo, and Albany. Binghamton has a last call of 3 a.m., Syracuse and Rochester have a time of 2 a.m., and Elmira, Geneva, and Ithaca have a time of 1 a.m. Rural counties may be even earlier.
- North Carolina: Last call is 2 a.m. statewide. On weekdays and Saturday alcohol can be sold beginning at 7 a.m., on Sunday alcohol sales begin at noon. Liquor stores (ABC) Closed on Sundays.
- North Dakota: 1 a.m., however recent legislation allows each county and city by local option to set a 2 a.m. closing time. North Dakota's closing time is strict. All drinks must be off the tables and the bar closed by the mandatory closing time.
- Ohio: Last call is 2 a.m. statewide, although establishments may acquire licenses that allow them to serve until 2:30 a.m. Store-bought beer & wine sales stop at 1 a.m. Liquor over 40 proof may only be purchased in state-approved stores—sales stop at 10 p.m.
- Oklahoma: 2 a.m.
- Oregon: 2:30 a.m.
- Pennsylvania: 2 a.m. in taverns, 3 a.m. in membership-only clubs statewide. Sales may begin as early as 7 a.m. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board–operated liquor stores (known as "Wine & Spirits Shoppes", or commonly called "state stores") operate various hours, but never open before 9 a.m. and never close later than 10 p.m. About ten percent of state stores, most of which are near the borders of the Commonwealth, are open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
- Rhode Island: 1 a.m. seven days a week. 2 a.m. in Providence only on Friday and Saturday nights and nights before a state-recognized holiday.
- South Carolina: Set by county or municipality. No alcohol sales (on or off premises) is permitted on Sundays, except in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville / Spartanburg, and the Myrtle Beach area.
- South Dakota: 2 a.m.
- Tennessee: 3 a.m. (24–7 in Memphis)
- Texas: Serving stops at 2 a.m. all drinks must be up by 2:15, Liquor stores can be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Beer and wine may be sold in other stores until 1 a.m. on Saturdays, and until midnight on any other day of the week.
- Vermont: 2 a.m., 3 a.m on New Year's Eve
- Virginia: All drinks must be up by 2 a.m.
- Washington: 2 a.m.
- West Virginia: 3 a.m.
- Wisconsin: 2:00 a.m. weeknights, 2:30 a.m. weekends. No closing time on New Year's Eve.
- Albany, New York: 4 a.m.
- Atlanta: 2:30 a.m.; 4:00 a.m. in Underground Atlanta. Midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning.
- Atlantic City, New Jersey: 24 hours.
- Austin: 2 a.m.
- Baltimore: 2 a.m.
- Bloomington and Normal, Illinois: 1 a.m. on weeknights, 2 a.m. on weekends.
- Bloomington, Indiana: 3 a.m.
- Boston: 2 a.m.
- Buffalo: 4 a.m., 24 hours on specific holidays.
- Champaign, Illinois: 2 a.m.
- Charlotte: 2 a.m.
- Chicago: Some bars may choose to close at 2 a.m. or earlier. They may alternately get an extension which allows them to close at 4 a.m. or earlier. On Saturdays, closing times are shifted an hour back to 3 and 5 a.m.
- Cincinnati: 2:15 a.m. for last call; 2:30 a.m. for closing time.
- Cleveland: 2:30 a.m.
- Columbus: 2:30 a.m.
- Denver: 2 a.m.
- Florence, South Carolina: 2 a.m. for hard liquor, 3 a.m. for beer. This includes Sundays where any bar that is defined as a private club may operate 7 days a week, otherwise last call is midnight Saturday night, until the establishment reopens for business on Monday.
- Fort Wayne, Indiana: 3 a.m.
- Houston: alcohol service stops at 2:00 a.m.
- Indianapolis: 3 a.m.
- Kansas City, Missouri: 1:30 a.m. for most bars, 3:00 a.m. for specially licensed bars in certain geographic areas. 6:00 a.m. for one bar only, the Mutual Musicians Foundation.
- Las Vegas, Nevada: Bars may stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Los Angeles: 2 a.m.
- Lexington, Kentucky: 2:30 a.m.
- Louisville: 4 a.m.
- Miami: 5 a.m.; Bars may stay open 24 hours, 7 days a week in the Downtown Entertainment District.
- Minneapolis / Saint Paul: 2 a.m.
- Mobile: No last call for bars operating under a private club license
- New Orleans: Bars may stay open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- New York City: 4 a.m., nightclubs are permitted to stay open after 4 a.m. but cannot serve alcohol.
- Pensacola, Florida: 3 a.m. (within city limits, 2 a.m. for county)
- Peoria, Illinois: Bars in the downtown district may stay open until 4 a.m. Bars in other areas may stay open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Bars may stay open 2 hours later than normal closing hours on New Year's Eve, providing additional patrons are not allowed after normal closing hours.
- Phoenix / Scottsdale: 2 a.m.
- Philadelphia: 2 a.m.
- Pittsburgh: 2 a.m.
- Providence: 2 a.m. on weekends, 1 a.m. on weeknights.
- Rochester, New York: 2 a.m.
- Salt Lake City: 1 a.m.
- San Diego: 2 a.m.
- San Francisco: 2 a.m.
- Savannah, Georgia: 3 a.m.
- Seattle, Washington: 2 a.m.
- Shreveport, Louisiana: 6 a.m. for Downtown, 2 a.m. everywhere else.
- St. Louis: 1:30 a.m. for most bars, with some 3:00 a.m. bars
- St. Petersburg: 3 a.m.
- Tampa: 3 a.m.
- Washington, D.C.: 3 a.m. on Friday night, Saturday night, and the night before a federal or DC holiday; 4 a.m. on the night of New Year's Eve; 2 a.m. other nights.
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