Laws & Regulations

Your advocate for effective entertainment regulations and safe neighborhoods, CMAC provides easy-to-follow and easy-to-implement guidelines on existing policies, compliance measures, and proactive good neighbor practices you, as an entertainment venue, are encouraged to take to remain in compliance and your employees, patrons, and neighborhood vibrant and safe.

If you have further questions or want to report an incident, contact CMAC at government@cmacsf.org.

Quick access to regs, rules & resources

Back to Basics

  • Post your permits: Make sure all your permits and licenses are current and easily accessible. Both Entertainment Commissions and CMAC encourage venues to have your Place of Entertainment, Extended Hours, Business License, Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) License, and Police Department Assembly Permit, where applicable, posted behind the bar – and, preferably behind glass. Additionally, venues are encouraged to have a duplicate copy of all permits and licenses (and to keep them all in the same place, like a binder) to give to enforcement agents upon request.
  • Eyes wide open: Carefully monitor the conduct of your patrons and of your employees. If a patron is acting out of order, you have the right to ask them to leave. If an incident occurs at your venue, CMAC encourages you to complete an Incident Report Form, collect completed Witness Incident Cards for reporting purposes, and send copies of all materials to CMAC (government@cmacsf.org). Please make several copies of all forms before the evening commences, and have them available at your venue.
  • Cut 'em off: Instruct your staff to never serve obviously intoxicated patrons. This is not allowed by the ABC Code, and it is a public health and safety issue.

For Your Head of Security

  • Carding: Have your Head of Security and staff be extremely diligent about checking ID’s at the front door. Consider videotaping everyone and their ID’s to prove the patron had an ID when they entered the club, if asked. If your venue has a video system, make sure it is working properly before doors open. Why not test it right now?
  • Clean and clear right-of-way: Keep your front door, sidewalk, and front line clear and orderly. Put your smartest security person up front and charge them with interacting with enforcement agents, and instruct them to be professional, courteous, and responsive to the demands made of them.
  • Stick to your legal occupancy: Have your legal occupancy posted on each floor of your venue, have your Head of Security ensure that staff maintains in-and-out clickers at all times, and do not exceed your legal capacity.

In the Case of an Incident

  • Play it cool: Be polite and professional with ABC, SFPD, or San Francisco Fire Department agents at all times. Keep in mind that these officers are dealing with nothing but problems and drunks all night; these exchanges day in and day out may affect them. Always insist on professionalism from your staff no matter what the circumstances.
  • Gotta business card? An amicable way to get an officer’s complete contact information is to ask for a business card. This significantly greatly reduces the likelihood for error. Be sure to offer them one of your own in return, as well.

Less Known Regulations

  • The truth about open bars: Some venues may advertise “open bar” nights or special events. Open bars are considered to be encouraging intemperance. The appropriate methodology is to issue each patron a set number of alcoholic drink tickets and to keep non-alcoholic drinks available at all times.
  • Unwanted visitors: Check your bar for fruit flies in the bottles. Bugs are a potential $3,000 fine for a first offense, and more serious consequence for repeat violators.

SF Entertainment Commission

Contact the San Francisco Entertainment Commission for more information.

City Hall, Room 453
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: (415) 554-6678
Fax: (415) 554-7934 (fax)

www.sfgov.org/entertainment

Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 
california music and culture association