Esta Noche's Successor Might Actually Be Decent

The only time I visited Bond Bar, I quickly realized it wasn’t a bar dedicated to Ian Fleming’s mythical spy and turned around and left. Turns out I may have made a mistake. According to Pete Kane of SFoodie, the successor to Esta Noche, the famed 16th Street Latino gay bar, is more than Yet Another Pinteresting Cocktail bar. In fact, it’s specifically “not douche-y.” Mmmm.

According to Kane:

To its everlasting credit, Bond is not offensive and it’s not douche-y, both in absolute terms and relative to the Mission in 2015. So there’s no pressing need to make them a bullet point in some anti-gentrification diatribe. In fact, the art direction is pretty nice, with sexy wall sconces and Aurora Borealis visuals playing on the back screen like a Mac screensaver I remember getting high to and watching in college. The former stage is now a seating area, and Bond’s designers wisely opted to leave that stunning wooden bar intact, too.

Kane isn’t alone in this opinion. SFist concluded Bond Bar is “just a neighborhood bar that’s waiting to find some new regulars.” Even the collective asshole of Yelp seems to dig it.

Mind you, we were pretty skeptical of this place before it opened. Bond is owned by WISH, the SoMa “New York style lounge.” Originally, the WISH team had told Eater they wanted to bring WISH’s “loungey vibe” to the space—which then seemed like a clear sign of bullshit to come. But those plans clearly fell through, and we instead have a dark bar that “isn’t a cocktail nerd’s paradise,” according to SFist.

Anyway, it seems Bond Bar might be worth putting on the short list of spots to check out. (And sorry for the snap judgment, bb.)

[Photo: Marissa C/Foursquare]

Fool Me Once...

Same Shit, Different Block: Munchery Is at It Again

Munchery is all about doing things its own way. The meal delivery start up that’s raised nearly $40 million first entered the lazy-eating game by delivering chilled, fully plated meals to the doors of Bay Area residents in 2010 and has grown quickly since. And in the style of companies who thrive on disrupting established industries, Munchery has been repeatedly shown to prioritize growth over environmental concerns, safety, and addressing complaints from their surrounding neighbors.

The company’s historic disregard for both city and state laws and its neighbors has continued at Munchery’s recently opened Utah Street facility, multiple neighbors tell Uptown Almanac. At a February 4th community meeting between Munchery co-founder Tri Tran and “the frustrated and frightened neighbors of Munchery”, with both district Supervisor Malia Cohen and a representative from SFMTA in attendance, a 20 page document was presented, detailing the ways in which “Munchery’s arrival on the 300 block of Utah Street has created a major disruption and created health & safety issues for residents, visitors and employees of local businesses.” This document, sent to Uptown Almanac by one of the neighbors in attendance, details many of the ways in which Munchery has struggled to address the repeated complaints lobbed against the company by the surrounding community.

The concerns presented at the February 4th meeting will seem familiar to the businesses and residents of Alabama Street, home to Munchery’s location in the Mission. They include Munchery leaving food waste on the sidewalk, idling trucks, obstructing automobile traffic and blocking the sidewalk. But the actions documented by the presentation also veer into the bizarre. One slide titled “Munchery Employees Disrespect Neighbors” details a neighbor’s alleged January 25th encounter with a Munchery employee that got heated. The employee had to be physically restrained by his coworkers, as he shouted at a neighbor “to come here and tell him that to his face.” The “that” in question being the neighbor’s request that the employee not repeatedly bang a roll-up door.

Munchery is not completely blind to the concerns of its neighbors, as Munchery did apologize for the “come at me bro!” antics of its employee. In addition to this apology, one neighbor, Jeff Benson, told Uptown Almanac that “the move in was rough, [but] it’s getting better.” Benson went on to say that what is happening on Utah Street “is not the same thing as what happened on Alabama Street.”

In conversation with Uptown Almanac, nearby property owner Erin Neff expressed frustration with Munchery “using the public street as their loading dock” and the seeming recklessness with which Munchery trucks are operated, mentioning that the trucks have damaged residents’ cars parked in the area. And while so far the damage caused by Munchery trucks has only been to property, Neff told Uptown Almanac that she fears the situation created by the trucks is dangerous to pedestrians.

“We are scared. So far only cars have been hurt, but it’s volatile, and someone is going to get hurt.”

Neff added that the 300 block of Utah Street was already home to a UPS distribution center, but “Munchery had made UPS seem like a dream.”

This is not the first time that someone has explicitly expressed fear that careless Munchery employees could injure pedestrians. A neighbor of the Alabama Street location contacted Uptown Almanac last November to tell us the story of when her child was almost run over by a Munchery truck:

I live very close to this intersection and one of [Munchery’s] trucks backed up far into the sidewalk and came within inches of hitting my 7 yr old on the way home from school last month. […] It scared me deeply and I won’t attempt to use that west sidewalk again until the trucks are permanently gone.

Another slide from the presentation titled “Extreme Parking Situations” shows Munchery trucks pinning in neighbors’ cars, sometimes damaging them in the process, and making it difficult to safely back out of parking spaces. When presented with this at the February 4th meeting, Munchery’s proposed solution was to hire someone to help neighbors pull in and out of parking spots. This “solution” perfectly demonstrates what is so wrong with Munchery’s approach: instead of working to address the cause of a problem the company would rather throw money at the symptoms.

Uptown Almanac reached out to both Munchery’s media team and to co-founder Tri Tran directly about the renewed complaints. Munchery’s General Manager Mihir Gandhi responded with an offer to put us in touch with the neighbors—neighbors we were already in contact with—but declined comment further.

When reached by phone, Supervisor Cohen declined to comment on the matter.

The presentation, along with the experience of individuals like Erin Neff, provides further evidence that Munchery continues to value growth over the safety of its neighbors and the concerns of its community. What remains to be seen is what, if anything, Munchery is going to do to change that.

Protesting Pooch

The Tech Shuttle Protests Are Back

It appears that rain is not the only thing slowing down the shuttle-bus commute this morning, as a group of protesters gathered early on Dolores Street to block the daily tech exodus south. Carrying a banner reading “EVICTION FREE SAN FRANCISCO,” the protesters appear to be drawing attention to the frequently noted correlation between tech shuttle stops and no-fault evictions.

And while this batch of protesters may lack a certain sartorial flair, they did at least bring a dog:

[Photo: kristenvbrown]

Larkin Lounging

Roving BYOB Party Comes to Larkin Street

The Tenderloin’s Larkin Street is set to play host to the first of what event organizers hope will be a monthly party/art show celebrating the businesses and artists who call that strip of the TL home. Open Late on Larkin, which basically looks to be a roving BYOB party, goes down tomorrow night and will feature a chicken and waffle pop-up from Soul Groove at Strand, a gallery show at The Loin, and live music at Vacation.

Tomorrow night also marks the opening of Fleet Wood—a new workspace and gallery located at 839 Larkin Street. From the team behind Fleet Wood:

Nestled in the heart of the city at Larkin and Geary, Fleet Wood is a store where everything on the shelves—from clothing to backpacks to jewelry to shoes—is made right here in SF. […]

Thursday’s opening shindig includes live screen printing (get there early—they’re giving away free shirts to the first 100 people in the door), and The Missing Link will have plenty of tasty sausages for sale out front  We are also celebrating our first art show, featuring Lindsey Millikan and Daniel Chen! 

 You can find a map of the participating galleries and businesses here. The party starts at 6pm, and goes “until whenever.”
Deli Hipster Scum

Salumeria Vandalized Late Last Night

Known for their $12 sandwiches and “caviar blini making kit” ($120), the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group owned fancy deli and sandwich shop Salumeria was vandalized late last night.  A tipster sent Uptown Almanac the above photo of the 20th Street location, freshly adorned with the following message:

Dear Hipster$… You still suck. Go Home.

Perhaps the tagger is upset that the Mission is officially now “a million times more hipster than Brooklyn.”

[Photo: Timothy Palmer]


Borderlands Books to Close by End Of March

Citing a projected inability to keep up with future operating costs, Borderlands Books has announced it will close “no later than March 31st” of this year. From the Borderlands’ blog:

At the beginning of 2014, the future of the business looked, if not rosy, at least stable and very positive.  We were not in debt, sales were meeting expenses and even allowing a small profit, and, perhaps most importantly, the staff and procedures at both the bookstore and the cafe were well established and working smoothly.

So it fills us with sorrow and horror to say that we will be closing very soon.

The blog post pegs the inability of Borderlands to set the price of its books as the main culprit behind the closure. This is because unlike the cafe attached to the bookstore, which will remain open for the foreseeable future, Borderlands is unable to determine the price of the product it sells. Again, from the Borderlands’ blog:

 The cafe side of Borderlands, for example, should have no difficulty at all.  Viability is simply a matter of increasing prices.  And, since all the other cafes in the city will be under the same pressure, all the prices will float upwards.  But books are a special case because the price is set by the publisher and printed on the book. 

Having established that Borderlands is unable to raise the price of its books in order to offset increased operating costs, the announcement still then frustratingly moves to cast blame on the voter approved increase to the minimum wage. Stating that while Borderlands “support[s] the concept of a living wage in principal […] Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to” the 2018 minimum wage.

The San Francisco minimum wage, which currently sits at $11.05 per hour, is set to follow the path taken by Seattle and incrementally increase to $15.00 per hour by 2018. Borderlands goes on to state that although the “effects of the increasing minimum wage won’t be felt for a while,” closing now just “makes better business sense.” 

It should be noted that while the planned closure appears final, a February 12th, 7pm meeting will be held at the cafe to discuss any “alternatives to closing the store.”

[Photo: bubbletea1]


With Tragedy Still Fresh, Developers Looking to Buy Fire-Destroyed Mission Market

With the burned wreckage of Wednesday night’s fire barely settled, those affected by the tragedy are faced with the daunting task of picking up the pieces. For the 54 residents displaced, for the business owners whose livelihood is now in question, for those dealing with the terrible physical and emotional injuries caused by fire, and for the family and friends of the deceased—recovery will undoubtedly be a long and slow process.

The often painfully slow ordeal that is coming back from a disaster of this sort is notable for many reasons, one of which being how starkly it stands in contrast to the reaction of a different group of individuals—developers. With some longtime residents of the now destroyed building questioning whether they’ll be able to remain in the city they still for now call home, real estate developers are already on the scene.

In a story focused on Wise Sons Deli, which was using a commercial kitchen located in the now fire-destroyed building, Inside Scoop makes note of what has come to be expected in our beautiful city by the Bay:

On early Thursday morning, I still met with [Wise Sons owners] Bloom and Beckerman. They were among the crowd hovering around the corner of 22nd and Mission, a swarm of displaced residents, nervous business owners, reporters, television cameras, and like moths to a flame, slimy developers looking to buy another property.

And with the brand new Vida condo development next door fetching sky-high rents, it is unfortunately no surprise that mixed in with all the pain and suffering caused by this fire some see gold.

Bum Jovi

No Longer Scaring Valencia Street Shoppers, Omer Travers Now Partying in The Desert With Young Women

Long a fixture of Valencia Street, Omer Travers (AKA “Bum Jovi”) spent many years alternatively delighting and pissing off those that happened to stroll by his seemingly permanent perch in front of Good Vibrations.

Described on Yelp as everything from “batshit crazy” to “legend,” Travers was nothing if not a very in-your-face reminder that Valencia still had a little life left in it. That changed when Travers disappeared around November of 2013, leaving us with only his Facebook page for our daily dose of confused rock and roll.

Well, it seems that Travers has been busy. Capp Street Crap reports:

Controversial Valencia Street fixture and entertainer Omer Travers may have traded San Francisco for Arizona but he still has an audience. 

Earlier this month, a music video for a song called “Apollo” by French electro-pop band Ruby Cube was posted to Travers’ Facebook page. From 2013, it shows Travers, a.k.a. Bum Jovi, cavorting with a group of fundamentalist girls gone bad. He even has a speaking part. I won’t give away the ending, but it’s kind of amazing.

Amazing it most certainly is.

[Photo: The Tens]


Mission & 22nd Shut Down As Fire Burns

The intersection of Mission and 22nd is entirely shut down as a four-alarm fire continues to burn on the northwest corner of the street. The building that looks to be hardest hit by the fire contains both the Popeye’s and the offices of Mission Local—in addition to numerous residential units.

The street closure has forced the rerouting of both the 14 and the 49 down South Van Ness for the time being.

The fire appears to be spreading west up 22nd Street, as these two photos taken moments apart (looking east from 22nd and Bartlett) seem to show:

Update Jan. 29th, 10:30am: Last night’s fire damage was extensive, both to persons and to property. San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White confirmed this morning that one adult male perished in the fire from a cardiac arrest, and Mission Local is reporting that “at least six additional people were being treated at an area hospital for smoke inhalation and burn wounds.” This is in addition to the roughly 54 residents that have reportedly been displaced. 

Chief Hayes-White said that it would be “days or weeks” until the origin of the fire is discovered, and that there are “concerns about [there] not [being] an audible fire alarm system and reports of people having difficulty accessing the fire escape.”

She went on to say that Mission Street will remain closed to traffic until at least midday, when they hope to open at least one lane for Muni.

The damage from last night’s fire extends past Mission Street, up 22nd. And while it is clear that the businesses directly affected by the fire itself will remain closed for some time, it is less clear what will happen to the businesses up 22nd, like Escape From New York and Revolution Cafe. When asked about when those businesses might be able to reopen, one SFPD officer informed Uptown Almanac that as there is extensive flooding and damage to electrical on buildings adjacent to the fire, SFFD would need to OK any business before it is allowed to reopen.

As of now, the future is uncertain for both the residents and businesses displaced.