Last call (bar term)

A night club closing time is bound by prevailing laws.

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. Legislation's purpose 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


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.[2]

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.



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.[4] The prescribed working hours for bars are a frequent point of contention between city authorities and local businessmen, particularly during the summer tourist season.[5]

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has an alcohol curfew starting at 2:00AM, excepting on non-religious National Holidays. Not applicable on residential dwellings.


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.


In Greece all bars, cafeterias, clubs and the like will stay open as long as there are customers inside. Usually cafeterias stay open until 11 p.m., bars until 2 a.m. and clubs until early in the morning, but there is no last call whatsoever. In 1994 Stelios Papathemelis who was the Minister for Public Order at the time passed a law mandating closing of all bars at 2 a.m. The law was widely unpopular, never materialized fully and was abolished few years later.


India closing time of bars vary in different states. In Delhi it is 1am, Mumbai 1:30am, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata at midnight.[6] In Chandigarh it is 1am weekdays and 2am weekends. In Bangalore it is 11:30pm on weekdays and 1am on Friday and Saturday nights.[7]


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.


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.[8] 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 no longer sold around the clock in grocery stores, and no sales are allowed between 23:00 and 6:00.


Italy does not have a legally mandated closing time. Alcohol may be served or sold anywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 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.[9] 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.

New Zealand

Until December 18, 2013 bars could close at any time they wanted (often 7am). But from December 18, 2013 all bars and nightclubs must close at 4am. Special conditions apply on Holy/ Maundy Thursday, Holy Saturday (aka Easter Eve,) The Day Before ANZAC day and Christmas Eve where bars must close their doors by midnight (However private bars and workingmen's clubs can stay open beyond that curfew) . There was a period in New Zealand history where Pubs closed at 6pm and could not open on Sundays.


Last call laws vary. Cities and towns are free to impose more restrictive regulations, but no later than 3 a.m.

City-specific laws

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.


In Sweden explicit last calls do not take place, as it would violate a political principle not to encourage people to drink more. The latest allowed closing time of bars and restaurant is decided by the municipality, but regulated by national laws and rules. The standard latest time is 1 a.m. But in many cities a later time can be allowed on some conditions, like high security and staff educated in responsible serving of alcohol. In some of the largest cities, a closing time as late as 5 a.m. occurs.[10]

United States

State-specific laws

"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."

City-specific laws

United Kingdom

The Average "Last Call" time occurs at between 11PM and 1AM in towns like Birmingham, London, Telford and Sherborne. This information was taken from two-hundred bars between 2014 and 2016.

See also


  1. "Last Call Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on June 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  2. New South Wales Government Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (2009). Fact sheet: On-premises licence. Retrieved on January 26, 2011.
  3. "Liquor Retail Stores - Applying for a Liquor Licence - Liquor Control and Licensing Branch". Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  4. Croatian Parliament (2006-12-08). "Hospitality and catering industry act" (PDF). Narodne novine / Ministry of Tourism (Croatia). Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  5. "Ugostitelji tijekom sezone žele raditi dulje". Vjesnik (in Croatian). 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  7. "ועדת השרים אישרה הצעה לסגור פאבים ב-2 בלילה - חדשות -הארץ". Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  8. Povoledo, Elisabetta (2009-01-19). " Globespotters Blog — Ban in Rome Bars Booze". Globespotters. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  9. Riktlinjer för serveringstillstånd (Swedish)
  10. "Google Drive Viewer" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  11. 1 2 "Laws and Regulations FAQs". Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  12. Gregory, Sarah (2010-07-28). "Pinellas County approves 3 a.m. closing time for bars". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
  13. I'm from Texas and it is 2015
  15. "ARTICLE I. - IN GENERAL". Retrieved 2011-04-17.
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