SF Mayor Breed wants bars, restaurants to sell alcohol for outdoor events in ‘entertainment zones’

Jerold Chinn
3 min readMay 5, 2024
Harrington’s Bar & Grill could be part of the city’s first entertainment zone where the bar could sell alcohol for outdoor consumption during outdoor events. | Photo by Jerold Chinn

San Francisco continues to attempt new ideas to reinvigorate the city’s downtown area, including establishing the city’s first “entertainment zone” to allow bars and restaurants to sell alcohol to drink outdoors.

Mayor London Breed plans to introduce legislation next week at the Board of Supervisors to create the first entertainment zone on Front Street between California and Sacramento Street. The three bars in the proposed entertainment zone — Schroeder’s, Harrington’s Bar & Grill, and Royal Exchange — would benefit from the legislation if passed by the board.

Additionally, Breed’s legislation lays out the roadmap for future entertainment zones and seeks to waive fees that applicants must pay to close streets off for events up to 12 times a year.

“I am trying to get rid of the bureaucracy, which takes away the fun in what so many of our small businesses are trying to create to continue to ensure that the vibrancy and the excitement of why people love San Francisco remain in full effect,” Breed said at a Friday morning press conference in front of Harrington’s.

State Sen. Scott Wiener made the entertainment zone legislation possible, who authored Senate Bill 76 which specifically allowed San Francisco to be the first city in the state to create entertainment zones. The bill passed last year and Wiener is now working on legislation to expand entertainment zones statewide.

Wiener said at the press conference that before SB 76 became law, local restaurants and bars could not sell alcoholic drinks outdoors during street festivals. Still, outside vendors were permitted to do so with a permit. He pointed out that Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey have enacted similar laws.

“This is something that states have done in recent years to empower cities to have the most activated public spaces possible,” Wiener said.

The mayor is also directing the Office of Economic Workforce and Development and the nonprofit SF New Deal to create a $500,000 grant program that will provide up to $50,000 to support events and activities to attract the public to the downtown area. Applications for the grant program are open and will be accepted on a rolling basis. Priority will be given to applicants who submit before June 15, 2024.

Breed’s entertainment zone legislation is part of the city’s to revitalize the downtown corridor. There have been several nighttime events in the past year, both new and returning.

On Thursday, the city held its First Thursday event on Second Street between Market and Folsom streets where there was music, art, food and a disco ball held up by a crane. The event happens on the first Thursday of every month through April of next year. The Bhangra & Beats Night Market returns downtown on May 10.

Breed had this message for office workers who only head to the office less than three times a week.

“FOMO, the fear of missing out,” Breed said. “Just so you know, there might be something going on that you might miss something exciting because you decided to not come to the office.”



Jerold Chinn

I am a freelance reporter in San Francisco with over a decade of experience covering transportation in the city. Bylines include SFBay and The Ingleside Light.