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Proposed San Francisco "entertainment zone" would allow street alcohol sales downtown

S.F. mayor proposes making section of Front St. "entertainment zone"
S.F. mayor proposes making section of Front St. "entertainment zone" 03:29

Officials in San Francisco on Friday provided details on a proposed "entertainment zone" in the city's downtown Financial District that would allow alcoholic beverages on the street during outdoor events and activations.  

San Francisco Mayor London Breed was joined by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and other officials to talk about the new legislation that would create the first designated public outdoor area with legal open container alcohol sales and consumption in California. 

Officials said the proposed legislation would also establish a framework for the designation of future entertainment zones and revise local open container laws to permit the operation of these zones. San Francisco's first entertainment zone would be established on Front Street between California Street and Sacramento Street. 

Officials discuss plan for downtown San Francisco "entertainment zone" 10:10

The city was authorized to create entertainment zones under SB 76, legislation authored by Wiener. If approved, the designated area will allow local bars and restaurants to operate and sell alcoholic beverages as part of organized outdoor events that take place on that block. 

The legislation would enable three bars along Front Street -- Schroeder's, Harrington's, and Royal Exchange -- to sell open beverages for consumption during special events in the zone. These bars, along with the Downtown SF Partnership and BOMA, are working to launch a new recurring street closure on this block that could involve live entertainment and other activities during the zone's operation.  

There will also be funding made available to support events activations in entertainment zones and throughout downtown. 

"The opportunity to do more fun in the streets of San Francisco by allowing a certain area and businesses within those areas, and restaurants and bars and others, to provide alcohol and sit out in the corner right in front of the restaurant and hang out with your friends and have a beer," Breed said at the press event announcing the legislation.

Area business owners who will be benefitting from the plan were enthused about the prospects.

"We do have a lack of foot traffic ever since COVID, and people working from home. And they're kind of coming back, but with the stores around us closing, without these office workers the stores can't survive," said Che Walton, the assistant general manager of Shroeder's. "So bringing this up brings us all a chance to show what we have to offer."  

"I think it is really important legislation that helps move forward the agenda of revitalizing downtown and reenergizing the local economy down here," said Harrington's Bar and Grill co-owner Lucia Camarda. "Getting people excited about San Francisco again."  

The announcement came a day after San Francisco held the initial First Thursday block party, another effort to draw more people downtown that brought thousands to a stretch of Second Street in SoMa.

Last month, Breed provided details on the new SF Live series of concerts in San Francisco that will feature free entertainment across the city this summer.

The legislation will be introduced at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 7th.  

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