Whenever a friend would visit me in Boston from New York, he would make this huge deal that the bars’ last call was so early. It would drive me insane. He’d say things like, “Oh my God, why does everything close so early here?” at which point I would respond with, “You know that most places don’t stay open as late as New York. Stop pretending that you’re surprised.”
But it made me realize that bars close at really different times all around the world. After doing some research, there are some really huge differences in last call times. So here’s a look at last call times in major cities — not just in the United States but across the globe.
New York City, New York
Let’s start with this one because apparently every single New Yorker loves telling us how late their bars stay open: 4 a.m. God knows it’s not hard to find an afterhours in the city, and it may cost you a pretty penny to get in, too.
Do you know who has you beat, NYC? Alaska! How does that make you feel? While I have no idea why on Earth you would want to be out until 5 a.m. in Juneau, that’s when the bars close there.
2 a.m.. OK, you guys? It’s not NYC. I get it. And the rest of Massachusetts is even worse, with a closing time of typically 1 a.m.
Los Angeles & San Francisco, California
2 a.m. Kinda lame, I know. You’d expect more out of Cali cities. Although there was talk for a while that both L.A. and San Francisco would change last call to 4 a.m., it was recently shot down by state legislators.
New Orleans (and all other cities), Louisiana
Whenever the hell you want. There are technically no laws, so a bar could stay open 24/7 if it wanted to. Here’s a list of 7 Louisiana bars that never close. Vacay, anyone?
Now let’s get to last call in some of the big international cities.
I think we should fly straight from Mardi Gras over to Tokyo to keep the party going. Because just like in Louisiana, all of Japan has no legally mandated last call times.
So, Dublin is a little complex. All of the pubs in Ireland are governed by the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2000. Generally, pubs must close at 11:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday they have to close at 11 p.m. If that sounds pretty lame, it’s because it is. We would expect more out of Irishmen. There are, however, special provisions for certain holidays and festivals where pubs can stay open later. Additionally, pubs can get an extended license to have the bar remain open until 2:30 a.m. Many nightclubs in Dublin do that, but then they also stay open much later (usually in breach of licensing laws) until 3 or 4 a.m. in some cases.
London (and all other cities), UK
So, like Dublin, last call in the UK is kind of confusing. There are no real set times because you can apply for extended licenses. The average last call time is between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. in municipalities like Birmingham, London, Telford and Sherborne. But there are pubs and clubs that can apply for individual licenses allowing them to shut at anytime between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Some establishments in big cities (like London) apparently have licenses to 5 a.m. and some have 24-hour licenses. So, honestly, who the hell knows?
As long as there are paying customers, bars in Shanghai will stay open (if they want to and don’t have a closing time set by the proprietor). Honestly, this is probably my favorite method. Just stay open for as long as you want. When people stop drinking, shut it down.
1:30 a.m. Sensible, I guess.
All of Italy technically doesn’t have a legally mandated last call. So in theory you could be drinking wine with your besties for as long as you damn well please. (Or until the owners kick you out.)
3 a.m. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It’s like, 2 a.m. is too early, and 4 a.m. is too late. Because with 4 a.m., you’re home by 5, then falling asleep when the sun is coming up, which is never a good sign. I think 3 a.m. is late enough, without encouraging any super late-night debauchery.
Neverrrrrrr. Vodka for days. Vodka on vodka on vodka. All the vodka until you pass out and then wake and start drinking more vodka in order to forget all the homophobia that happens in Russia.
So, the moral of the story is that you can drink pretty late in some cities. Also, New York gays need to calm down, because there are not only cities around the world but cities here in the United States where last call is later than their own.
Featured image by monkeybusinessimages via iStock