SF mayor proposing plan to create CA's 1st 'entertainment zone' allowing street alcohol sales

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Saturday, May 4, 2024
SF mayor proposing plan to create CA's 1st 'entertainment zone'
San Francisco Mayor London Breed is proposing California's first "entertainment zone" where alcohol could be sold during outdoor events.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed is proposing to designate Front Street, between California Street and Sacramento Street, as the city's first entertainment zone.

"We are changing everything to yes. Not only are we saying yes to opportunities to have nightlife and entertainment and to close down streets and to make it possible for people to come together. We are proposing legislation to wave those fees that people get charged to close down streets," said Mayor Breed.

MORE: San Francisco leaders believe nightlife is key to bringing city back

San Francisco is authorized to create these zones under SB 76, a bill authored by Senator Scott Wiener.

"Until this year it was completely illegal in California for bars and restaurants to ever sell onto the street during a street festival. We have now given San Francisco the ability to create these entertainment zones," said Senator Wiener.

Turning part of Front Street into an entertainment zone is still not a done deal.

"The board of supervisors will have to hopefully pass it," said Senator Wiener.

The new co-owner of Harrington's Bar and Grill is hoping for the mayor's proposal to pass. He says it's pivotal to re-energize the area.

"It's not just about getting people to come back to work. It's also about bringing people to downtown from all over the Bay Area," said Duncan Ley, co-owner of Harrington's Bar & Grill.

MORE: SF launches Downtown First Thursdays to attract visitors, boost businesses

To make it easier for entertainment zones to happen Mayor Breed is also offering $500,000 to provide grants for events and activities.

"With that half a million dollars we can fund between 10 to 20 events and activations whether they are hosted by event promoters, by bands and musicians," said Sarah Dennis Phillips, Executive Dir. for the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Despite the closure of several businesses in downtown after the pandemic, Robbie Silver, Executive Director of the Downtown SF Partnership says this proposal will bring the boost they need to turn downtown into a destination for the Bay Area.

"Some good news is that between 2022 and 2023 we have actually seen 22 new bars and restaurants open in downtown" said Silver. "This is significant to the financial district."

To apply to the city's grant program for the creation of new events and activities in Downtown San Francisco click here.

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