Drinks in the Auditorium

This summer, San Francisco Opera will continue experimenting with allowing audiences to enjoy beverages in the auditorium.

For all summer Opera performances, audience members may bring drinks purchased in the venue into the auditorium. Drinks must be in approved compostable cup with lid, available at all bars in the War Memorial Opera House. Food is still prohibited inside the theater.

Following the extended trial period, we will decide whether to continue the program. As always, ushers and staff will work to ensure that patrons have a safe and enjoyable experience.

We want your feedback. Patrons may also contact the Box Office at (415) 864-3330 or email webtickets@sfopera.com.

More questions? Read our FAQs below.



What is the new policy? San Francisco Opera is experimenting with allowing audiences to enjoy beverages in the auditorium. Many other venues across the country have adopted similar policies, so that audience members don’t have to choose between enjoying a drink and all the other things patrons might want to do during intermission.

Which performances? San Francisco Opera is participating in this pilot program for all Ring performances June—July 2018.

How will SF Opera maintain cleanliness? The War Memorial has reviewed extensive research from comparable arts organizations across the United States that have participated in similar trials. The data suggests that patrons have a more positive experience at the event when given the opportunity to bring their beverage in to the theater without a major increase in housekeeping concerns. However, the War Memorial and San Francisco Opera are committed to providing adequate staff and increasing the number of appropriate receptacles throughout the War Memorial Opera House to ensure that cups are disposed of properly.

Where do patrons get a plastic cup? Patrons may bring drinks purchased in the venue into the auditorium, as long as they are in the approved compostable cup with a lid, which will be available at all bars in the War Memorial Opera House.

What if patrons want to enjoy a beverage in a glass? Glassware is still available in the same locations, namely the Loge and the Main Bar on the Orchestra level. Patrons are very welcome to have their drink in a glass, if they would like. This option will not change. However, beverages enjoyed in glassware must remain in the lobby unless the patrons are seated on the Box level.

What if patrons purchased a drink in a glass, and wish to take the drink into the theater? If a patron has purchased a beverage in a glass, and would like to take the beverage into the theater as the performance is about to begin, stations will be located near every entrance to the Hall with compostable cups, lids and straws so that patrons may transfer their beverage. Bartenders at each bar will has have compostable cups.

How will progress be measured? We will meet regularly to monitor this pilot effort, and will decide, following the extended trial period, whether or not to continue the program. Our Box Office staff is also available to receive any comments regarding this program during working hours from 10am–5pm Monday and 10am–6pm Tuesday –Saturday. Patrons may also contact the Box Office during these times at (415) 864-3330.

If this affects my experience while attending a performance at War Memorial Opera House, whom should I speak with? San Francisco Opera welcomes patron feedback, whether positive or negative, regardless of the situation. As always, usher staff will work tirelessly to ensure that patrons are having a safe and enjoyable experience. Other resources available during performances before intermission are the Box Office or the Welcome Desk.