"Maybe to suggest they serve something other than heavy alcohol during those times of celebration," Lee said last week.
The mayor never mentioned an outright ban, but Monday the American Beverage Institute called any attempt to restrict sales "a ridiculous idea" and said the city should avoid "demonizing a perfectly legal product."
H. Ehrmann owns the Elixer Bar in the Mission District. He tells ABC7 News that the mayor's emphasis on hard liquor is misguided.
"According to the government, one and a half ounces of spirits is the same as one glass of wine or one glass of beer; alcohol is alcohol, it's really about moderation," he said.
The mayor emphasized Monday he's not talking about any alcohol prohibition.
"I'm just trying to start a conversation about social responsibility," he said. "People should know their limits. As Clint Eastwood used to say, they ought to just be cognizant that over indulgence could be very hurtful to their community and themselves."
Rob Black is head of the city's powerful Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
"Certainly from our perspective, you never serve anyone who is drunk in a bar or restaurant, that's illegal," he said. "What we do need to do is closely coordinate with the mayor and police where we see hot spots."