State legislators pass bill allowing hair salons to serve alcohol

Audrey McNamara/Senior Staff

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Berkeley barbershops and beauty salons are one step closer to being able to legally serve alcohol to customers after the state Assembly passed AB-1322 on Aug. 22.

Authored by Assemblymembers Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) and Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), the bill, if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would allow beauty salons and barber shops to offer complimentary beer and wine without a license.

According to the bill analysis, many beauty salons throughout California already provide their customers complimentary alcoholic beverages while styling hair. This practice, however, violates state law, according to John Carr, a public information officer for California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“Any location that serves or sells alcoholic beverages to the public — it doesn’t matter if (it’s) a beauty salon or a barber shop — you have to have a license to serve alcohol to the public,” Carr said.

Alcohol can legally be served without a license, however, as part of a limousine or hot air balloon ride service so long as clients are not charged an extra fee for their beverages. The initial cost of a beer and wine license in California is $300 as well as an annual $261 renewal fee, and the process of obtaining the license takes approximately 60 to 90 days, Carr said.

In Berkeley, some hair salons reportedly offer alcohol to clients while styling their hair. According to former Hermosa hair stylist Joe Escobedo, Hermosa Salon on College Avenue allegedly served alcohol to clients during his time working there.

Hermosa Salon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Escobedo — who now owns Anton Salon on College Avenue — added that he plans to serve alcohol if the bill is signed into law and that he is currently in the process of submitting an application to obtain a liquor license for his salon.

“Maybe a glass (of wine) will help customers to relax,” Escobedo said.

Opponents of the bill have raised concerns that it does not specify age requirements or “responsible beverage service” training for those serving alcohol, according to the bill analysis.

Ety Kay, a stylist at Hair Cut Connection on Euclid Avenue, said she would not choose to serve alcohol at her salon if the bill were passed since most salons only offer beer or wine during longer appointments, such as hair coloring.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to hair care — it’s going to be so messy,” Kay said. “People come for 20 minutes, it’s too much.”


Contact Cassandra Vogel at [email protected].