The last call is when the bartender and the bar staff call it quits for the day. Usually, you will have roughly ten-fifteen minutes and can order one final drink after it.
It refers to the end of the service for the day. There may be a couple of reasons, e.g., laws and regulations or because the staff has completed the shift.
You may have just gotten started, or you may be in the mood for more drinks, but when the last call happens, it is best to order your final drink, savor it, and leave politely.
All of this brings us to the question, when is the last call at a bar? So, a straightforward answer is as follows:
The last call for most states in the US is 2:00 am, but it fluctuates between midnight to none. Also, the bartender may announce it, or you may have to notice the subtle signs, e.g., staff has started cleaning up and are leisurely drinking at a table instead of serving.
Here, we will discuss when the last call in different states is in the US, the signs of the last call, and how to do it properly.
Last Call for the Various States
There are several laws and regulations to serve alcohol, which also hold if you need to consider when it should be the last call in your bar. Also, people in the state of California can check these codes to know the hours of sale for alcohol.
So, before going into the signs, below are some states with the last call being 2:00 am and others with no time limit or different than 2:00 am. So, they can be categorized into two broad classes that are as follows:
2:00 Am Last Call
Below are most of the states with 2:00 am as their last call:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
However, some of them come with additional perks, where you can stay an hour or so more with a membership card or if it is the weekend. The same holds for some holidays, e.g., New Year’s eve.
12:00-None Last Call
While the majority of the states in the USA comply with the 2 o’clock mark, there are some other states where the last call time is earlier or later.
- North Dakota
- Rhodes Island
These states also come with factors, e.g., in the case of Louisiana, some cities follow the 2:00 am mark, and in the case of Tennessee, several counties don’t permit the sale of alcohol.
Knowing the staff or being friends with someone working in the bar can help you stay till the employees are there, so in a sense, you can stay after the last call to hang out and drink with them.
Signs of the Last Call
Several subtle signs indicate that it’s the last call, even if your bartender doesn’t call for one, which you will be familiar with if you frequent a bar.
Your bartender will often announce the last call; however, the first sign usually starts with the employees cleaning up the stuff and side dishes.
Also, the moody atmosphere will start to die down. The bar lights getting brighter for the cleaning, cutting down of music, and other employees drinking or chatting at a nearby table are some other indications.
So, respecting this closing time instead of getting angry that you want more drinks should be your attitude. Also, you can reward the employees for their efforts by tipping them.
Why Is It Important to Notice the Signs?
For starters, working as a bartender isn’t easy, and the same goes for other staff.
Although the job is fun, the working hours are long, and you rarely get the chance to take a breather with the constant flux of customers and orders.
So, at the end of the shift, every employee is tired, whatever their workstation is. They may want to talk with their co-workers and let out the steam they bottled up or talk about some other stuff.
That’s why; if you notice the above signs, get ready to put a lid on your partying and give the staff some space.
How To Properly Announce the Last Call
To ensure that every customer leaves and you won’t have to be the bad guy (but in some cases, you have to), follow the following steps:
1. Make a Routine
Having a routine that every staff member follows helps, as guests are more likely to follow the rules that way.
2. Give Sufficient Time
Generally, the last call is made twenty minutes before the closing, so guests can have sufficient time to finish drinking. It keeps them from getting an adverse impression, as they don’t have to rush to finish the drinks.
3. No Exceptions
Making no exceptions, whether friend or not, can help you to avoid issues after the last call. However, there are times when you have to make exceptions, especially at the local bars/pubs, so be discrete about them.
4. Ensure Everyone Knows the Closing Time
When you drink, time flows like water, and it isn’t odd to get confused about time. So, ensure that every guest knows how much time is left and when the bar will close. For example, you could hang a sign behind the bar that indicates the time of the last call.
5. End Everything on a Good Note
Last but not least, instead of shooing the guests away, be the best host you can be till the end. It will help you maintain your customer base or even increase it.
Lastly, the last call is when you have to finish drinking and let the employees have time to clean things up and prepare for the next day.
So, in most states in the USA, the last call is usually around 2:00 am, but it can fall anywhere between midnight or some rare cases, with none at all. However, knowing the signs of the last call can help you see how much time you have left before you should head out of the bar.