The Mission's 43-year-old beer garden Zeitgeist is about to reemerge from its pandemic slumber, and as many drinkers around SF are starting to realize, it's venues like this with big outdoor spaces that are going to luck out, business-wise, as bars and restaurants begin to reopen.
As a bar that serves food, Zeitgeist will get to open sooner than some other bars around town, and owner Lara Burmeister is going to test the waters this weekend with a takeout experience in the beer garden itself. She writes on Instagram that she and the staff have arranged "a 6-foot distanced line, in a way where the line can be an experience in itself," with "music blasting and art to view as you wait." And on sale will be a simple menu of grilled-cheese sandwiches, and to-go jars of the bar's signature Bloody Marys and margaritas.
Also, as Hoodline reports, the bar appears to be planning to offer up the backyard for socially distanced private parties of 16 to 64, in addition to removing all the picnic tables and installing 16 well-spaced, hightop tables.
"Despite these setbacks, we feel really lucky," Burmeister tells Hoodline this week. "We feel confident that we can provide a safe outdoor dining experience, whenever we are allowed to do so."
The reopening test will be this Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m., and Burmeister says on Instagram, "If you all show up for it, we'll do it again... maybe even, on the regular." The repeated event will feature a new artist each week, and, it sounds like, possibly third-party food vendors.
And for anyone who's ever complained about bad or indifferent service at Zeitgeist, she writes, "We've adjusted our ordering process, so you can be served quickly."
View this post on Instagram
BLOODIES + MARGARITAS TO-GO: This coming weekend 5/30 + 5/31 from noon to 5 pm each day, we are testing out a take-out menu. Grilled cheese sandwiches, margaritas and our bloodies, ready-to-drink (elsewhere) or as a mix for later. Line within the beer garden, music blasting and art to view as you wait. If it works, we'll do it again. #supportsmallbusiness #staysafe MORE INFO: Hi everyone, since mid-March, we've been closed to the public. As the shelter-in-place continues, we are trying to figure out how to serve you under this "new" normal. Full disclosure, we're still figuring it out. This weekend, we are testing out a to-go menu/experience. Within our 60 ft x 30 ft backyard space, we've arranged a 6-foot distanced line, in a way where the line can be an experience in itself. While you wait for your order, you walk past a gallery of work by a local SF artist and can solo-sway to tunes blasting from our outdoor speakers. We've adjusted our ordering process, so you can be served quickly. We are launching this as a one-time test weekend event for now. If you all show up for it, we'll do it again... maybe even, on the regular. If so, we would partner with a different SF vendor and artist each time to help support those businesses and provide you with new offerings each weekend while you wait. If it's a bust, this might be the only one for a while. See you saturday.
San Francisco is expected to enter "Phase 2.5" of its reopening process, in which restaurant dining is allowed, sometime in June, pending a revised health order from the city. Sonoma County, though it is allowed to restart dining right now, has held back behind neighboring Napa and is only allowing outdoor dining for now.
SF is currently among 11 California counties that are holding back from the second part of Phase 2, because they have not yet met the state's criteria for doing so in terms of COVID testing and minimal new cases during a two-week period. Also, San Francisco and five other Bay Area counties have agreed to act in tandem and more slowly than the state at large, which could lead to delays in reopening restaurants and, ultimately in Phase 3, bars.
The San Francisco bar community, led by Entertainment Commission President Ben Bleiman, may push to be able to open without required food sales attached, as the state has currently is mandating.
As of Tuesday, Mayor London Breed announced that restaurants and bars will be able to apply for expedited permits to take over adjacent sidewalk and street space in order to add more outdoor seating areas in the next phase.