Californians will soon be able to get a brewski with their braids or a merlot with their mousse, thanks to a new law signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The law, co-authored by Assemblymen Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) and Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), will allow barber shops and hair salons to serve one complimentary bottle of beer or glass of wine, without a liquor license, to customers 21 and over, starting Jan. 1.
Several barbers and a hair stylists interviewed said it’s long been a common practice, particularly at more upscale beauty emporia — but technically it has been illegal.
“Many beauty salons and barbershops sell their services as experiences, so it is not uncommon for a customer to be offered a beer or glass of wine,” Wilk said in a statement. “By setting a responsible standard to comply with, this law strikes the perfect balance between individual choice and public safety.”
The law, according to Wilk’s statement, “reflects modern realities by exempting these businesses from the requirement of a liquor license.”
It may also reflect a trend in modern salon society — that plain-old cuts just won’t cut it anymore.
“A lot of guys ask if we have beer, so it might be something that might be done here,” said Teira Herron, assistant manager of Sport Clips Haircuts in the Bouquet Center Shopping Center in Santa Clarita.
Mark Tropeano, director of Apollo’s Barber Shop, which runs three stores in the Santa Clarita area, said beer and wine at barber shops and salons are, “just another amenity, just another value we can give our customers.”
Tropeano’s shop on Town Center Drive in Valencia recently got approval from the Santa Clarita Planning Commission to sell, at an additional charge, limited amounts of beer and wine as part of the Apollo’s salon package – but under a so-called Title 40 license, unrelated to the law enacted this week.
Still, Tropeano said, the new law shows how barber shops and beauty salons might look beyond their usual offerings to attract customers.
The new law does not allow sales, but does allow one drink to be offered free of charge, limited to 12 ounces of beer or six ounces of wine per customer, and no later than 10 p.m.
Tropeano questioned the “free of charge” part.
“I already have spoken to friends in the industry,” he said, “and I don’t think anybody’s going to be giving anything away, they’ll be pricing (the beer and wine) into their costs.”
He also said the new law does not exempt salons from the Health Department guidelines that apply to all businesses serving alcohol – such as requiring additional sinks and rest rooms that many salons do not have.
Those requirements, and the costs of meeting them, might get in the way of many shops adding beer and wine to their fare, he said.
The County Health Department did not immediately reply to an inquiry as to whether it would be heavy-handed with enforcing those restaurant-related rules on barbers shops and salons.
Meanwhile, one Santa Clarita hair stylist said he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.
“I don’t really care, (the new law) won’t impact me at all,” said Michael Beck, owner of the Entourage Hair Studio in Valencia.
He said he would not be offering any beer or wine to his customers.
“It’s not why people come here,” he said.