San Francisco is notoriously lax about open containers, which means you probably didn’t even realize that it’s illegal to bring booze to places like Dolores Park, for example. Or the Panhandle…or Muni—we feel you, though.
Technically, if SFPD catches you drinking where it’s not allowed, they can ask you to move. Or, if they’re not in a good mood, issue you a citation. (FYI: Kegs and hard alcohol are never allowed in Golden Gate Park—the police WILL take your keg away—and you definitely shouldn’t be drinking within 100 feet of a playground.)
So, we came up with this list. Feel free to bring your own beer or wine, and in some instances, even hard alcohol to these parks and killer restaurants! Some are even so kind as to waive the corkage fee. Cheers!
Places in Golden Gate Park
Strawberry Hill Picnic Area
Take a little hike to the highest point in Golden Gate Park, and then enjoy the view with wine or beer (no liquor or glass allowed). You can also reserve picnic tables and even bring your own grill, if you want to make an afternoon of it.
Horseshoe Courts Picnic Area
Nothing goes better with horseshoes than beer. There aren’t any picnic tables or BBQs, so bring a blanket and beer or wine (as long as it’s not in a glass container) to maximize enjoyment.
One of the biggest stretches of green grass in Golden Gate Park (um, lawn games!), Lindley Meadow, has 12 picnic sites that can be reserved ahead of time. Each site is well-equipped with at least one picnic table, BBQ grills, and the freedom to drink beer or wine (again, no glass containers). Though, you don’t have to reserve a table—beer and wine are allowed anywhere in the meadow.
You can drink beer and wine (no glass containers) at Speedway Meadow, but remember: there aren’t any restrooms on-site, so ration wisely.
Pioneer Log Cabin Picnic Area
This cabin was built to honor the pioneer women of California, so raise that plastic cup of wine or beer and cheers to ’em! The picnic area offers four picnic tables and two BBQs, so get there early for first dibs if you’re going to have a group.
Peacock Meadow Picnic Area
The bad news is that Peacock Meadow is no longer home to peacocks. The good news is that wine and beer (no glass) are both allowed.
George Washington Grove Picnic Area
Throw down a blanket in the sun (or shade, depending on the weather) and enjoy a cold can of beer or plastic cup of wine in this large, grassy area on the south side of the park.
This little nook near the Conservatory of Flowers isn’t marked with a sign, but that just makes it all the easier to claim as your own for the day. Bring your friends. And your wine and beer—no glass.
John McClaren Park
McClaren Park is SF’s second largest park. It’s great for hiking, tennis, discovering native species in the marsh, and… you guessed it—drinking! But you know the drill: beer and wine only and leave the glass containers at home.
Marina Green Little Picnic Area
You know what makes drinking even better? A view of the water. And flying a kite. You bring the wine, beer, and kite. The view will be waiting. Oh, and no glass. Duh.
Mountain Lake Park Picnic Area
This is one of our favorite parks that no one ever seems to visit. First, run the fitness circuit around the lake, then play some basketball, and then hit some tennis balls. Or, skip all of that and just enjoy some wine and beer (no glass) at the picnic area.
Hilltop Park Picnic Area
We love the views at the base of the 70-foot sundial. And the fact that we can enjoy them while drinking wine and beer (no glass). However, if you’re going to utilize the skate park, maybe do so before you imbibe. Just a thought.
Every Sunday in the summer, Stern Grove is home to amazing free concerts. Pack a picnic and throw in some booze if you want, because on Concert Sundays, alcohol is permitted.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Specifically: China Beach, Fort Funston, Fort Mason, Lands End, and Crissy Field. No—seriously! According to the “2013 Superintendent’s Compendium of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions,” the only places in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (including the Presidio) where you can’t drink alcoholic beverages are Alcatraz, Fort Point, Navy Memorial Parking, Merrie Way Parking Lot and Sidewalks, Sutro Baths, and Ocean Beach. #TheMoreYouKnow
This Embarcadero restaurant isn’t cheap (a hamburger’s $19 and the filet will run ya $46), but even though they have a full bar and extensive wine list, they don’t charge a corkage fee, which means you can enjoy your own wine and save a few bucks.
You can get a four-course Moroccan dinner for $28 at this Polk Street restaurant, which is a total steal, especially because you can BYOB.
Bring your own beer and wine to this cozy (read: tiny) Nob Hill restaurant serving super affordable (like under ten bucks), tasty Vietnamese food.
Alamo Square Seafood Grill
If you purchase two courses on Wednesday nights, they will waive the corkage fee at this charming neighborhood spot.
Every Tuesday is “no corkage night” at this Cole Valley favorite. Bring as much wine “as you can gracefully handle.”
Elite Cafe’s Meetinghouse Biscuits and Deviled Eggs are that much better if you enjoy them on Sunday night when there’s no corkage fee.
Off the Grid at the Presidio
Off the Grid doesn’t advertise this one because they want you to buy your booze at one of the trucks, but you can actually BYOB to Picnic at the Presidio and Twilight at the Presidio. It’s not kosher at other locations though, just FYI.