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SF Gets Five Precious New Liquor Licenses

Get ready to party

Horsefeather warm wooden back bar full of bottles of liquor
Five restaurants could get a bar like this one
Patricia Chang

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law this week that authorized the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue five full liquor licenses to new or existing restaurants on seven specific San Francisco streets (Third Street in the Bayview, outer Mission Street in the Excelsior, San Bruno Avenue, Ocean Avenue, Noriega Street, Taraval Street, and Visitacion Valley).

In case you didn’t know, a liquor license currently goes for $300,000 in the secondary market in San Francisco. That’s because the state has not issued any new ones to the city in 77 years, which makes the announcement that the city will get five new ones a pretty big deal. Rather than $300,000, these licenses will be available for a mere $13,800 application fee, issued based on a lottery system.

That lower fee will make it much easier for restaurants without incredibly high volume to be able to afford one, and if that restaurant closes or sells, the license will go back into the system for another neighborhood spot, rather than hit the secondary market. The licenses, which will be issued September 2017, are targeted to those outer corridor neighborhoods specifically to allow for restaurants that can’t afford licenses to have a shot at one.