OEWD’s Nightlife Initiative

San Francisco’s nightlife and entertainment sector – which includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs, live music venues, and other performance spaces – is an integral part of the City’s fabric. Nightlife and entertainment businesses attract residents and visitors to our diverse neighborhoods and provide social spaces that are critical to the development of our unique and vibrant cultural life. In addition, San Francisco’s legendary music scene has launched the careers of countless acclaimed artists across a variety of genres.

Nightlife isn’t just a cultural benefit; it’s also a major economic driver. The nightlife industry includes 3,200 businesses that create over 52,000 jobs citywide. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the sector accounts for $4.2 billion in spending by 80 million customers annually. San Francisco nightlife businesses also contribute to the local economy by supporting other local businesses. In 2010, the nightlife sector spent approximately $1.6 billion in local supplies and services, and paid roughly $55 million in payroll and sales taxes to the City that year.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s (OEWD) nightlife initiative supports the growth of San Francisco’s nightlife and entertainment industry by working to implement the following strategy, which was developed based upon feedback from City and industry stakeholders about the sector’s existing needs and opportunities for growth.


1. Connect San Francisco Nightlife and Entertainment Businesses to City Resources

OEWD will assist prospective and existing nightlife and entertainment businesses in navigating City Hall and connect them to providers of technical assistance. We will create an online resource portal that provides prospective and current nightlife and entertainment business owners with a detailed overview of the steps needed to start and operate a nightlife and entertainment business in San Francisco. The portal will direct businesses to relevant City and state agencies, providers of technical assistance, and educational resources.

OEWD will also work to educate the nightlife and entertainment community about available loan and grant programs and tax incentives, and assist qualifying businesses in participating in these programs.

Finally, OEWD will work with staff from City agencies connected to nightlife and entertainment to identify emerging challenges related to nightlife and entertainment and to develop strategies to improve the coordination and deployment of City services for this sector.


2. Support Legislative and Policy Developments to Advance Nightlife and Entertainment

OEWD will work with the Board of Supervisors and relevant committees to monitor legislation that could impact the nightlife and entertainment sector. We will engage with nightlife and entertainment and City stakeholders to foster informed discussion of the issues presented by significant emerging legislation, and, where appropriate, will work to build industry support for significant pending legislation.

OEWD will also work with the Entertainment Commission and other stakeholders to evaluate the status of the goals established in the music and culture sustainability policy unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2009. Where appropriate, we will work with City stakeholders to develop policy recommendations to advance the goals articulated in the sustainability policy.


3. Advocate for the Development of New Nightlife and Entertainment Spaces and Venues and Support Existing Spaces

OEWD will provide advice and support to operators navigating the permitting processes connected to starting new nightlife and entertainment spaces. We will also work to support the development of nightlife and entertainment uses on underused City and Port property.

OEWD will also monitor new development projects that may impact existing adjacent nightlife and entertainment businesses. Where appropriate, we will work with property developers and nightlife business owners to implement strategies to avoid or reduce the likelihood of future conflicts.


4. Build Awareness of the Nightlife and Entertainment Industry Locally and Among Tourists

OEWD will develop a strategy to highlight notable contributions and achievements made by local nightlife and entertainment businesses in order to improve local awareness of the industry and its contributions to the City’s economic and cultural vitality.

In order to expand tourists’ awareness of San Francisco’s diverse nightlife and entertainment offerings, OEWD will explore ways to develop nightlife campaigns to engage tourists and will work to promote increased collaboration between nightlife and entertainment businesses and San Francisco Travel.


5. Facilitate Collaboration with the Technology Industry

OEWD will work to develop a collaborative relationship between the nightlife/entertainment and technology sectors through joint events and other opportunities for interaction and dialogue.


6. Support Improvements in Late-Night Transportation

OEWD will work with the Entertainment Commission and the Municipal Transportation Agency to initiate a study of late night transportation issues. We will work with MTA to explore possible improvements to nighttime transportation services as well as the development of a pilot program to improve late night transportation.