Hayward bids buh-bye to happy hour ban

Can you just imagine if The City By The Bay went all prohibition-era on us and got rid of happy hour?

Seriously, think about it.

What if the restaurant around the corner from your office was no longer serving two-for-one cocktails when you got off from a bad day of work?

Well, Hayward restaurant patrons have been living with this kind of craziness for nearly six years. No happy hour drink specials, and no live music at full-service restaurants.

But, thanks to “numerous complaints,” Hayward will lift the ban for a six-month trial period.

Inside Bay Area reports that the ban — in effect since 2006 — was originally put in place as part of a plan to make it easier for Hayward restaurants to add bar service. In exchange for easier approval to serve liquor, though, restaurants were subject to extra restrictions, like no happy hour specials.

Business owners have said not being able to offer drink and food specials has hurt business and forced patrons to seek out options in other cities. The hope is that the six-month trial period will make downtown Hayward a more desirable place to dine.

With the ban lifted, restaurants can serve discounted alcoholic beverages from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., as long as nonalcoholic drinks and food are discounted as well.

The Hayward City Council plans to revisit the ban in a few months to evaluate whether to permanently lift the happy hour ban entirely.