San Francisco's Booze Ban a Bust

There will be no Super-Bowl Sunday bowl ban in San Francisco

By Joe Rosato Jr.
|  Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013  |  Updated 4:45 PM PDT
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San Francisco s bartenders won t be locking up the Jack Daniels afterall come Super-Bowl Sunday. NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. reports.

San Francisco s bartenders won t be locking up the Jack Daniels afterall come Super-Bowl Sunday. NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. reports.

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San Francisco’s bartenders won’t be locking up the Jack Daniels afterall come Super-Bowl Sunday.

Following San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's suggestion bars might want to ban hard alcohol to prevent post-Super Bowl riots - ala post-San Francisco World Series riots - his office clarified: “He did say ‘ban’ but not really what he meant,” texted Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey. Instead she said his message was “suggesting moderation,” and to “tell businesses to be wary and not over serve.”

Still, in the wake of the mayor uttering the dreaded “B” word, came an internet storm of stories relaying the inglorious news San Francisco was banning hard booze on Super Bowl Sunday.

Yahoo listed San Francisco’s “booze ban” as one of its top Super Bowl-related searches.

The news even rattled all the way to Washington D.C., to the ears of the Distilled Spirits Council which fired off this statement:   

“In calling for a ban on distilled spirits sales during the Super Bowl, Mayor Lee has missed an important opportunity to educate San Francisco citizens on key principles of responsible alcohol consumption.”

In the Mission District’s Elixir bar, open since 1858, owner H. Joseph Ehrmann was incensed at the perceived slight to the city’s bar community.

“Tell us not to do our job is insulting our professionalism,” Ehrmann said. “And to tell us not to sell something is hindering our business.”

The fears over a post-Super Bowl spectacle took their roots in the aftermath of the San Francisco’s Giant’s World Series victory last October, where hundreds of revelers took to the streets smashing bottles and cars while setting fires throughout the Mission District.

On Sunday the San Francisco Police Department plans to station hundreds of extra officers in hot spot areas like the Mission, North Beach and South of Market. There’s even a plan to prevent fires.

“We have been working also with our local garbage companies so that we can do some early pickup of garbage,” said San Francisco Police Department spokesman Albie Esparza.

As far as what the bars serve that day, Esparza said the department is leaving it up to the judgment of the bartenders. 

“They don’t want to have any problems themselves,” said Esparza. “So they’ll be gauging when someone has too much to drink, and cut them off.”

Later this week, Mayor Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr plan to visit bars and restaurants in the Mission District, asking them to keep the party on the mellow side.

But riding his bicycle down Mission Street, Jermaine Fulgham, wasn’t as optimistic about the city’s chances of stemming the mayhem.

“Whoever wins,” said Fulgham, “everybody going to pour out into the streets. And liquor stores got liquor, so there’s no way they’re going to be able to stop it.”

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