San Francisco has far and above more restaurants and bars per square mile than any other Bay Area county.
The city has about 82 restaurants and bars per square mile compared with the next highest, Alameda County, which has just about five such establishments per square mile.
Here’s how the Bay Area counties rank in number of restaurants and bars per square mile.
1. San Francisco — 82.21
2. Alameda County — 4.86
3. Santa Clara County — 3.13
4. Contra Costa County — 2.51
5. San Mateo County — 2.35
6. Marin County — 0.89
7. Solano County — 0.75
8. Sonoma County — 0.58
9. Napa County — 0.35
San Francisco comprises only about 47 square miles, but has nearly as many restaurants and bars as Santa Clara County, with covers more than 4,000 square miles.
“San Francisco going back to the Gold Rush has always been a hospitality town — it’s one of the reasons that there are no net new full liquor licenses here,” said Gwyneth Border, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which serves the Bay Area.
When restaurants with full liquor licenses close or go out of business, owners commonly sell the licenses to the new owner.
Borden said food historian Erica Peters documented San Francisco’s rich culinary history in her book “San Francisco: A Food Biography.” In it, Peters wrote how San Francisco’s culinary offerings evolved constantly as an influx of diverse newcomers took advantage of the access to great natural resources — including farms, fisheries and ranches,
“It’s both San Francisco’s historic diversity and access to great food product that has made it such a culinary powerhouse,” Borden said.