El Rio reopens its patio for the first time since March 2020

Photo: Joe Kukura/Hoodline
By Jay Barmann - Published on March 29, 2021.

Beloved Mission District bar El Rio is finally reopening its patio, 12 and a half months after it was forced to close along with the rest of the bars across the city in March 2020. Thursday, April 1 is the big day — and the patio will reopen for table service at 4 p.m.

The bar made the announcement on Facebook, and the news comes just over a week after San Francisco entered the "Orange" tier in the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy — which allows bars to operate outdoors without a mandatory food-service component. It's the first time in a year that bars in the city have had the ability to serve drinks without a meal — the public-health logic being that drinking for drinking's sake isn't an essential or particularly safe activity in a pandemic.

"No foolin'!!" the bar's Facebook post says (referring to the April Fool's Day opening date). "Get yer buns in here!"


No foolin!!!!! Thursday, April 1st. 4pm. Get yer buns in here. ❤️🥳❤️🥳❤️🥳

Posted by El Rio on Friday, March 26, 2021


El Rio had remained closed for much of the pandemic, only reopening in late February for to-go cocktails, as Hoodline earlier reported. Last year, the beloved LGBTQ-friendly bar succeeded in landing a grant from Showtime and the Human Rights Commission — they launched a small-scale program to provide pandemic relief grants to queer businesses around the country, and El Rio was the only local grantee. Also, El Rio won some relief funding from the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Relief Fund as well.

The bar now sports a pretty new mural on its front facade by artists by J. Manuel Carmona and Simon Malvae, as seen above.

So, there may not be any big dance parties happening out back on the patio just yet, but fans can at least go over and enjoy the space, and the old lemon tree, while sipping on a Paloma in the sun. (FYI, it's going to be very sunny and warm on Thursday, so it's likely to fill to capacity fast.)

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