Why Can’t Some Outdoor Cafés in L.A. Serve Wine?

A wonky-sounding task force is here to help

For answers to more of your burning questions, visit the Ask Chris archive.


I was at an outdoor café, and they said they weren’t allowed to serve me wine. Why? 

Even if a restaurant has a liquor license, it needs a conditional use permit to serve you in the great outdoors. Obtaining one is difficult, and it can come with restrictions that limit serving hours or require the bartender to observe your imbibing. If a restaurant skips this process, it could be busted.

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But back up: L.A. has launched a “Beverage and Entertainment Streamlined Program” task force to make it easier for restaurants to allow patrons to drink, dine, and dance.


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