Pubs, clubs and off licences in problem areas could be banned from selling alcohol after 3am, under new government plans.
The proposed rule mean that in places where alcohol-related problems cannot be attributed to one venue - a whole area, such as a city centre, will not be allowed to sell alcohol between 3am and 6am.
The ban could be imposed all week or only on particular days of the week.
Councils will need to show the restriction was necessary to prevent crime and disorder or public nuisance, or to promote public safety.
Announcing the new powers, which will be brought in through the Crime and Security Bill currently before Parliament, licensing minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "We recognise that some concerns still exist about anti-social behaviour, and are determined to give councils the powers they need to act.
"This new power will help local authorities and the police make life better for local residents. It will also help ensure that licensees take their obligation to run responsible businesses more seriously."
Council looking to use the new power will first invite views from local residents, the police and licence-holders and, if necessary, will hold a public hearing before making a final decision.
The new rules were first mentioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Labour conference last September.