Our downloadable, smartphone-friendly Bay to Breakers race course liquor store locator is back, though COVID-19 closures have claimed several legacy corner stores, particularly in the Sunset.
We think one of the most significant developments in the history of Bay to Breakers (which returns this Sunday!) was the 2008 introduction of SFist’s Bay to Breakers Liquor Store Map. Then-Chronicle columnists Matier & Ross assigned us some blame for the race’s rowdiness that year, saying, “a local news and entertainment Web site, SFist, even posted a map of liquor stores along the route to help participants through stretches ‘painfully lacking in places to buy additional smokes and booze for your continued 'running.' "
Hardly discouraged by the cranky Boomer feedback, SFist has stuck to this stupid bit every year the race has been held since. So here it is, your 2022 Bay to Breakers Liquor Store Map, now a downloadable, smartphone-friendly Google Map to help you restock your beer, liquor and cigarettes, particularly when you’re way out in the wilderness sections of Golden Gate Park.
The above map is available to download and just pull up on your smartphone during the race. You'll see where you are as the little blue dot in relation to how close you are to the nearest corner store establishment. You can actually use it any time of year to coordinate and optimize your Golden Gate Park day drinking.
The overall booze-buying strategy is simple. For the first half of the race up through Divisadero Street, there will be many liquor stores open right along the race course. (But once again, Bi-Rite Market Divisadero will be closed during Bay to Breakers and not opening ‘til 1 p.m., despite its glorious Bay to Breakers yesteryear past.)
But after you turn off into the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park, you will not encounter any more convenience stores on the race course. (New Star-Ell is the last one you’ll see.) Your best bet then is stock up off-course in NoPa corner stores, or head north to the Richmond stores through most of Golden Gate Park, or south to the Sunset during the final stretch of the race.
Though, sadly, COVID-19 business closures have decimated convenience stores on every leg of the race track. Yerba Buena Market (Howard and Sixth Streets) has permanently closed since we last did this map three years ago.
Same goes for H&W Market (Hayes and Webster streets) though this closure occurred pre-pandemic, in the summer of 2019.
And there are quite a few closures out in the Sunset, though some have new beginnings. Al’s Market (Irving Street and Fifth Avenue) is now a Mediterranean spot called Savor, which appears to have just opened this month.
The Inner Sunset’s Room Service (Irving and 10th Avenue) also closed during the pandemic. But it’s set to become a pot dispensary! Hoodline reported last November it will be reborn as the cannabis dispensary Solful.
But no such luck for Stand-Bi Market (Judah Street and Eighth Avenue), as SFist observed the place is completely emptied out, and with a leasing agent’s sign on the window.
It’s heartbreaking to see that some of these longstanding, legacy convenience stores got shut down amidst the economic wreckage of COVID-19. Even if they were sometimes janky, these liquor stores were of value to these communities, and we love these neighborhoods.
And if you’re doing Bay to Breakers, please do love these neighborhoods. Don’t be an ass. If you’re going off-course to hit a liquor store, think of yourself as a guest in that neighborhood. Use porta-potties and not someone’s yard or bushes, put your trash in a proper receptacle, and be friendly toward the residents. Be an ethical drunk at Bay to Breakers!
But you may now consider it perfectly ethical to crash the race without paying the registration fee, considering what we’ve just learned about Bay to Breakers' new corporate owners. And remember, even then-mayor Gavin Newsom crashed Bay to Breakers without registering back in 2010, and that didn’t keep him from moving on to bigger and better things in life.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist