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Zeitgeist has turned the picnic tables on its patio into glass booths
Zeitgeist has one of the most striking patio setups

Here’s How SF Restaurants Created New Spaces for Outdoor Dining

San Francisco diners sat at tables on the sidewalk, ate on socially-distanced patios, and drank inside glass-partitioned booths

June 12 marked the first day since the March 16 shelter-in-place order that restaurants in San Francisco were allowed to serve sit-down meals — as long as diners remained outdoors and followed appropriate social distancing protocols. Many of these spots hadn’t ever served patrons outside before, but were able to set up tables on the sidewalks (and, in some cases, parking spaces) outside their restaurants through the city’s new Shared Spaces program.

Given the short notice — Mayor London Breed’s announcement that the city would open for outdoor dining on Tuesday morning — there are many, many restaurants, even those equipped with expansive patios, that weren't ready to offer outdoor service over the weekend. Still, an Eater SF photographer’s tour of the city’s Mission and North Beach neighborhoods on Sunday found that plenty of restaurants were already taking advantage of the newly loosened regulations — public health concerns notwithstanding — and, in some cases, are finding creative ways to adapt their spaces to abide by social distancing guidelines.

In the Mission, many diners were seated at sidewalk tables set up in front of casual restaurants like Panchita’s #2, a popular pupusa spot, and Tacolicious, the fast-casual taqueria.

Diners seated at sidewalk picnic tables at Panchita’s #2 in the Mission
Diners seated at sidewalk picnic tables at Panchita’s #2 in the Mission
Sidewalk seating at Tacolicious
Sidewalk seating at Tacolicious

Meanwhile, Zeitgeist, the wildly popular Mission beer garden, had made some of the more extensive changes to its layout, from the list of rules posted outside on everything from table capacity, the protocol for lining up and getting seated, and time limits...

The new rules for dining on Zeitgeist’s patios, including rules on table capacity, the protocol for getting seating, and time limits
The new rules for dining on Zeitgeist’s patios

...to signs delineating the flow of traffic through the patio...

A sign showing a one-way flow of traffic through the patio at Zeitgeist
A sign showing a one-way flow of traffic through the patio at Zeitgeist

...to the “booths” that the restaurant has set up at its picnic tables, separating groups of diners with a wall of glass.

Zeitgeist has turned the picnic tables on its patio into glass booths
Glass partitions separate the picnic tables at Zeitgeist
Another view of Zeitgeist’s booths
Another view of Zeitgeist’s booths
Two diners seated on a bench at Zeitgeist
Two diners seated on a bench at Zeitgeist

North Beach, on the other hand, not only saw its sidewalks fill up with diners, but, in many cases, restaurant seating spread out into the streets themselves, as many spots took advantage of the city’s new Shared Spaces initiative.

Sidewalk seating at Original Joe’s in North Beach
Sidewalk seating at Original Joe’s in North Beach
A masked server waits on customers outside Original Joe’s
A masked server waits on customers outside Original Joe’s
Diners at Sodini’s Trattoria are seated both on the sidewalk and in the parking spaces in front of the restaurant
Diners at Sodini’s Trattoria are seated both on the sidewalk and in the parking spaces in front of the restaurant
The outdoor seating at Tupelo’s is on the street, in metered parking spaces
The outdoor seating at Tupelo’s is on the street, in metered parking spaces
Curbside seating at Mona Lisa in North Beach is set off from the street by a barrier
Curbside seating at Mona Lisa in North Beach is set off from the street by a barrier
A view of Green Street in North Beach, with multiple tables set up on the sidewalk and in the street
A view of Green Street in North Beach, with multiple tables set up on the sidewalk and in the street

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