SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – During the pandemic, cocktails to-go have been a big hit for local bars and restaurants.

On Saturday, a new law takes effect that will make the idea official, but the problem is, the law might not be what was expected or hoped for.

Over the last two years, to-go cocktails offered relief to bars and restaurants trying to make ends meet.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 389 in October to make the idea legal beginning Jan. 1 and lasting the next five years.

The concern is this new law is much more restrictive than expected.

H. Joseph Ehrmann, the owner of Elixir Saloon in San Francisco, feels the law is making life worse for bars like his as opposed to making things better.

SB 389 requires customers to buy a full meal to accompany any cocktails to-go.

Customers also must pick up their orders in person, ending any order through third-party delivery apps.

A meal, as defined by the state’s alcohol beverage control, is a sufficient quantity that would constitute the main course in a multiple-course dining experience.

Foods such as chicken wings, french fries, pre-packaged sandwiches, cups of soup, or egg rolls are examples that do not meet requirements.

For Ehrmann and other bar owners, the law appeared to make selling cocktails easier for places that specialize in cocktails.

He now believes it’s accomplishing the opposite and he’s not sure why.  

The law expires on Dec. 31, 2026.