Local Mission Eatery and Local's Corner owner Yaron Milgrom is in the news again today as the Chronicle puts him front and center in a piece about the battle to lift the ban on new liquor licenses and liquor license transfers in the Mission, which is the strictest of its kind in the city. For those who haven't heard the oft-repeated tale, the moratorium on new liquor licenses was enacted in 1996 at a time when there was significant blight in the neighborhood due to corner liquor-groceries, and was intended to address the crime and quality-of-life issues associated with the stores and discourage new ones. Sixteen years on the city is moving at a glacial pace trying to revise the policy, which obviously shouldn't apply anymore now that so much of the Mission is gentrifying and changing, and the number of restaurants where you can get a good cocktail there has remained few. Enter Milgrom, who can't get a license even to sell beer and wine at his upcoming Local Mission Market (Harrison near 23rd) without requesting a special exception.
"I'd like the code to be able to distinguish, without ridiculous involvement, the difference between a liquor store and a grocery," says Milgrom, whose market is set to open in the fall. Supervisor Scott Weiner seems inclined to agree, though it's actually David Campos who represent's the lion's share of the neighborhood. Special exceptions have already been granted to Mission Bowling Club, which has a full bar, and the Roxie Cinema, which is supposed to start selling beer and wine soon.
Is there really a fear that if the ban is lifted a bunch of cheap liquor stores are going to pop up, with rents in the Mission being as crazy as they are? Chances are, if the ban were lifted, we'd just see more bar programs like Locanda's and Range's, and there'd be fewer liquor stores because the store owners would finally be able to cash out and transfer their licenses to someone else.
Business owners bristle at Mission's liquor laws [Chron]
Earlier: Exclusive: Local Mission Eatery Expands With Local Mission Market and Local’s Corner
Local’s Corner Finds Some NIMBY Opposition
Roxie Theater and Mission Bowling Club Get OK’d For Booze