New State Law to Support Neighborhood Restaurants in San Francisco

SB 1285 map image

Successful restaurants help to activate neighborhoods commercial corridors by reducing storefront vacancies, boosting foot traffic, adding to the variety of neighborhood-serving small businesses, creating good jobs for residents, and providing important spaces for neighbors to meet and socialize.

Despite San Francisco’s strong economy, it can be challenging for neighborhoods to support existing restaurants and attract new restaurants to vacant storefronts.

One barrier to neighborhood restaurant success is the prohibitively high cost of a full liquor license that allows a restaurant to serve spirits in addition to beer and wine. These licenses are currently being sold for as much as $300,000 on the private market, and prices will likely continue to increase as the City keeps growing.

These prices make full liquor licenses inaccessible for small business owners in the City’s outer neighborhoods, even though many of these commercial corridors would significantly benefit from successful restaurants.

Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1285, a bill authored by Senator Mark Leno that will create a new type of affordable, non-transferable liquor license for existing and new restaurants in specific San Francisco neighborhoods. SB 1285 will increase the likelihood of success for existing neighborhood restaurants and create a tool to encourage entrepreneurs to launch new restaurants in currently vacant storefronts.

For more information about SB 1285, please read this press release from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, or download this fact sheet about the bill, which has also been embedded below.

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