Drinking On City Street: What San Fransico Major Wants to do to the Law

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has proposed a significant change to the city’s public drinking laws. This essay explores the proposal’s details, potential challenges, and compares it with similar initiatives in other U.S. cities. The goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of this potential shift in urban policy.

What has the law been regarding drinking outside on city street in San Fransico?

In San Francisco, like most cities in California, it is generally illegal to consume alcoholic beverages in public places. This includes streets, avenues, sidewalks, stairways, alleys, and thoroughfares1. The law also extends to private property open to public view without the express or implied permission of the owner1. Violation of these laws typically results in an infraction, with a fine ranging from $25 to $1001.

Exceptions to the Rule

Despite the general prohibition, there are exceptions. For instance, it is permissible to consume alcohol in certain designated picnic areas where beer and wine are allowed1.

Recent Developments

Recently, there have been legislative efforts to allow outdoor drinking in certain areas of San Francisco. Mayor London Breed and State Senator Scott Wiener have proposed legislation that would create an “entertainment zone” in downtown San Francisco23. This zone would permit bars and restaurants to sell drinks outdoors during certain events23.

This proposal is made possible by State Bill 76, passed last year, which allows businesses to sell alcohol outdoors during events permitted by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control4. Under SB76, San Francisco is legally authorized to create entertainment zones4.

The proposed entertainment zone is located on Front Street, between California Street and Sacramento Street3. If approved, local bars and restaurants will be able to operate and sell alcoholic beverages as part of organized outdoor events that take place on this block3.

While public drinking is generally prohibited in San Francisco, recent legislative efforts may change the landscape, allowing for outdoor drinking in designated entertainment zones. These changes reflect a broader trend towards revitalizing downtown areas and fostering community engagement through outdoor events.

Details of  the Proposed Entertainment Zone.

The proposed “entertainment zone” in San Francisco is a significant development in the city’s approach to public alcohol consumption. Here are some key details:

Location and Operation: The inaugural entertainment zone is proposed for Front Street, between California and Sacramento Streets12. This block is home to several establishments, including Royal Exchange, Harrington’s Bar and Grill, and Schroeder’s3. The zone would only be active during outdoor events specifically permitted by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control3.

Benefits to Local Businesses: The entertainment zone would allow existing bars and restaurants to sell alcohol outdoors during these events12. This gives them a competitive advantage similar to that of licensed vendors at festivals3.

Legislation and Regulation: The creation of the entertainment zone requires the introduction and passage of local legislation3. This legislation would establish a framework for defining and allowing entertainment zones, and revise local open container laws to permit outdoor drinking in these zones3.

Future Plans: If approved, the legislation would also establish a framework for the designation of future entertainment zones1. There are plans to launch a new recurring street closure on this block that could involve live entertainment and other activities during the zone’s operations.

Economic Revitalization: The proposal is part of a broader effort to revitalize downtown San Francisco and turn it into a destination for arts and culture3. Funding will be made available to support events and activations in entertainment zones and throughout downtown1.

Please note that this is a proposal and has not yet been implemented. The legislation will be introduced at the next Board of Supervisors meeting1. For the most current information, you may want to follow local news or the city’s official announcements1243.

Last updated on: May 6, 2024

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