Market Street Mornings

High-Speed Police Chase Leaves Trail of Carnage Along Market

Brian Brophy fills us in on a high-speed police chase that wove through Civic Center and up Market earlier this morning:

I was walking up the north side of Market across from 11th when I heard sirens, coming on very quickly. I then saw a red pick-up truck emerge from 11th and first thought it was an SFFD truck, but I didn’t understand why it was going so fast. As the truck turned right, going east onto Market I realized it was a work truck, and somebody was fleeing the cops. The cop was right behind him. The truck was going so fast, I didn’t think he was going to make the turn, and was scared he was going to end up on the sidewalk where I was. The truck made the turn, looking like he was about to flip over, tools spilling out onto Market Street. He drove on the wrong side of the street and they both somehow made it through the 9th and Market intersection, against the light, without hitting anybody. I couldn’t see past that.

Then I continued on to work and saw glass on the ground in front of the Honda dealership [at the corner of Market and Van Ness], between the Muni stairs and the building. The truck had hit a town car on Market, then went up on the sidewalk and made a right onto S. Van Ness. I heard the cop there say something about a man flipping out of the back of a  truck and hitting his head on a tree (but I’m not sure if it was the red truck, or another truck he hit). I got to Mission and South Van Ness, in front of the car wash and he had hit those trees earlier in the chase.

I couldn’t believe they kept chasing him up Market. They were going so damn fast, seemed like maybe just let him go at that point so nobody in their car or pedestrians get hit. Hopefully no one else got hit. I heard they got him pretty soon after that.

From what we’re seeing on Twitter, the police caught up with suspect around Civic Center.

https://twitter.com/mclarkesf/status/494533727435767809

[Photos: Brian Brophy]

Yum

The Tradesman: Meeting All Your $16.00 Peanut Butter Burger Needs

Putting their “gorgeous wood” front and center, Zarin Gollogly and Spencer Lafrenz of Harrison Woodworking + Design have joined the ever increasing number of trailblazing entrepreneurs to open a bar/restaurant on the now-definitely-a-real-thing-and-not-the-creation-of-a-restaurant-group “20th Street Corridor.”

According to SF Eater:

The smoking-hot 20th Street corridor has yet another new stunner to add to its arsenal in the form of The Tradesman, which opens today in the same complex that houses Central Kitchen, Trick Dog, Salumeria, and Sightglass.

In addition to serving beer and wine, The Tradesman, which opened this past Friday, sports a diverse menu. Offerings include:

  • goat tartare cured yolk, watercress, horseradish, country bread ($6.00)
  • birria goat stew cilantro, fresh made corn tortillas ($13.00)
  • chicken and waffle ($14.00)
  • burger cheddar, peanut butter, sesame brioch bun ($16.00)

So the next time you find yourself staring at the precious landmark-themed menu at Trick Dog wondering what’s a guy/gal got to do to just get a goddamn Dogfish Head Sixty-One and some goat tartare, The Tradesman’s got you covered.

[Photo: Patricia Chang via SF Eater]

Coffee Saved the Video Store?

Lost Weekend Video Serving As Ritual Roaster's Temporary New Home

As we reported earlier this month, Lost Weekend Video has been suffering an “immediate crisis” as rental revenues have sharply declined. They’ve explored a few different revised business models, including expanding their famed Cinecave upstairs, but “Valencia Street business restrictions” has made those plans impossible.

Lost Weekend then put out a call for “anyone with an actual solid business plan interested in sharing the upstairs space with us.” And then today, Matt Graves alerted us to a Ritual Roasters pop-up in the video store. Hmm.

We reached out to Ritual’s Eileen Rinaldi to see if Lost Weekend was exploring a partnership with the neighoring coffee shop—a situation that could be similar to Borderland’s bookstore-cum-coffeeshop setup. However, Rinaldi tells us that Lost Weekend is just helping Ritual out while the coffee shop undergoes renovations:

They’re just being great neighbors. We’ve always had a good relationship with the folks at Lost Weekend. We used to joke about putting a little pass-through cabinet between our businesses so the folks working the video store could get coffees delivered to them behind the counter without having to go outside. I think this is one step better than that!

Neighborly love! How about that?

Anyway, should you want your Ritual fix, they’ll be operating out of Lost Weekend from 7am to 2pm daily until their remodel is complete. Rinaldi tells us they hope to reopen in three weeks.

[Photo: Matt Graves]

Pinball Party Time

New Legislation Means More Arcade Games For San Francisco

Working to shed the title of San Francisco’s Top Buzzkill, Supervisor Scott Wiener has taken a moment out of his normally busy schedule outlawing public nudity and crusading to restrict the public’s use of city parks to remind us that, hey kids!, he’s still hip to the needs/passions of the youth vote.

I refer, of course, to the legislation he co-sponsored with Supervisor London Breed, which the Board of Supervisors is expected to approve today, modifying restrictions on pinball machines and arcade games inside city businesses. The San Francisco Chronicle did us the favor of explaining the clearly onerous existing regulations, which were passed way back in 1982 when the questionable morals of Mrs. Pacman seemed a very real threat:

The law currently requires a business to secure a city permit to have any arcade game on its premises; it also prohibits the games within 300 feet of a public playground or school or within 1,500 feet of another business with arcade games, and in any neighborhood zoned for residential use; and limits the number depending on square footage of a business, with a maximum of 10.

Well pop the champagne and take a hammer to your piggy bank, because under the new law bars can have four machines and non-bars can have up to ten without securing a permit.

Shit just got real.

Of course, lest shit get too real, the revised regulations on “mechanical amusement devices” do not completely roll back restrictions. Rather, Supervisors Wiener and Breed have made it easier for establishments to carry a limited quantity of arcade machines without going through the Entertainment Commission. For previously illegal arcades such as Free Gold Watch, this paves a pathway towards legitimacy that wasn’t previously available.

So the next time you’re cited for having the audacity to be in Dolores Park past what Supervisor Wiener considers to be an acceptable hour, just remember, Wiener has your best interests at heart.

Jack Spade Anyone?

Clothes Contact on the Chopping Block

I guess this isn’t much of a surprise: Valencia Street’s stalwart by-the-pound used clothing store is closing this fall. According to a Craigslist listing for the space, the $14,000-per-month ground floor retail space is available in two months:

Great Frontage on Valencia and 16th. Nice three story building with great potential. Space will vacate approx 60 days… Possible to double space with full basement.

Sources tell Uptown Almanac was the place to buy bulk Hawaiian shirts (ironically, we’re assurded). Looks like we’ll have to score our used grabs at Thirft Town, Community Thrift, and Buffalo Exchange going forward.

[via Larissa Archer, Mission Mission]

The Lunch Beat

Pal's Takeaway is Bringing Their Sandwiches Back to Tony's Market

Pal’s Takeaway has always been one of the few spots that can get away with charging $12 sandwich. The price is extravagant, sure, but the unmatched quality always made up for it.  However, when Pal’s left Tony’s Market for a wine bar down the street, it always felt like something was lacking (the addition of the restaurant’s tables were nice, I guess. But it always feels more appropriate to order a sandwich from a liquor store deli counter).

It wasn’t just the vibe that changed after the move. Pal’s Jeff Mason noticed customers weren’t coming in for sandwiches as often either. So he’s moving Pal’s back to the deli counter where he made a name for himself. Via SF Eater:

While he enjoyed having the space at La Movida, he feels that his core customer base, the hospital workers at SF General, haven’t been making the trek farther to 24th and Folsom to have lunch at Pal’s. He’d remained friends with Tony’s owner Kasa Meherle, and when Meherle expressed a desire to have Mason back, he decided to return Pal’s to its hospital-adjacent original home, at 24th and Hampshire.

However, Inside Scoop reports that Pal’s will be bringing tables back to Tony’s Market:

Mason is working with market owner Kasa Meherle to get the space up to par, and then some. Among the fixes are the requirements needed to get health department approval, namely replacing wooden shelves with metal ones. There will also be some al fresco tables on the sidewalk.

The move will be completed by August 11th. But we better enjoy it while we can: Mason is looking to create his own restaurant, and is already looking at possible locations in South Park and the East Bay.

[Photo: boringtime, via Eater]

Dolores Beach

Miss the Old Dolores Park? Try Dolores Beach

Well, let’s admit it: Dolores Park is fucked. As if the bulldozing wasn’t enough, buzz-kill narcs are actually busting people for drinking. Before you waste your breath arguing for your non-existent right to booze in public, take a little jaunt with me, just over the Bay, to a place I like to call Dolores Beach.

On the briney shores of Lake Merritt, there’s a strip of grass right under the Fairyland sign that 20-somethings have colonized in the name of aimlessly chilling about. Trust me: this should serve as a more-than-adequate substitute for Dolores Park.

Pros:

  • 10 minute walk from 19th Street BART
  • Lake Merritt is usually about 5-7 degrees warmer than SF, and often sunnier.
  • Oakland PD is currently understaffed (but growing) and too worried about real crime to bust you for drinking.
  • Look how pretty Lake Merritt is!
  • Actual wildlife in the form of a ton of geese, ducks, cormorants, night herons, egrets, and the occasional pelican.
  • Less crowds=less shitty people
  • You can rent a paddle boat
  • No piss smell
  • Lakeside Park is now “dog friendly”
  • There’s this one dude that sells ice-cream, sometimes
  • If it gets crowded, there are other places in lakeside park to chill, like Dolores Beach 2 on Lake Merritt Boulevard

Cons:

  • Fuck Geese
  • Also fuck paddle boats
  • Real people exercising might make you feel self-conscious about your beer-filled muffin-top
  • Sometimes the algae blooms create a sulphury smell
  • Shit, where’s the bathroom? I’m like three beers deep bro
  • No one is selling weed brownies
  • Goose shit everywhere
  • It’s harder to look cool and anonymous with less centralized chilling locations
  • Gotta buy your booze from Whole Foods instead of Bi-Rite
  • You can’t get into Fairyland without a child, which is total bullshit
  • Seriously, does like Fairyland have a bathroom I can use?
  • Don’t whip your dick out to pee, there’s kids around
  • You might be speeding up gentrification

In fact, that last point is very nearly a lost cause. Oakland’s rents are rising fast, with tons of competition in hip neighborhoods—sound familiar? And just this week, early-rising Oakland residents were treated to a true, lasting image of the SF Tech Culture Imperialist Blitzkrieg: this dude and his goddamn pontoon bike (if we want to get technical, isn’t that really more of a catamaran bike?). Somehow I don’t think he would have gotten away with this 10 years ago.

So with temperatures slated to be in the 80s this weekend, forgo your usual Dolores Park afternoon and familiarize yourself with Lake Merritt. After all, there’s a good chance we’ll all be living in Oakland in a few years. #bikelyfe

[Photos: heyitsnye, gs_flix]

Keeping the Scene Alive

Viracocha Is Back: The Mission's Most Intimate Venue Gets Up To Code

For years, Viracocha was the Mission’s favorite worst kept secret. Upstairs you could shop for all your niche home-decor needs: potted succulents, charming typewriters, and faded LP sleeves. Downstairs was a different world. It was a not-so-secret place for bands, poets, and songwriters to perform in a room that looked more like an idyllic log cabin than a typical venue. But it turns out all the handmade lights and wood panelling that gave Viracocha its signature charm also put the venue at risk. Inspectors from the City’s Entertainment Commission told John Segel, owner of Viracocha, that the venue was not up to code from an electrical and structural standpoint. Segel closed Vira and began a delicate process of revamping the venue, while keeping its original mystique.

“We rewired the entire space” Segel told Uptown Almanac. To power PAs, amps, and anything else bands needed, Segel and the community of volunteers used flex wire and extension cords to make power. That didn’t sit well with the city. They had to hardwire all of that, replace hand made lights, and build fire exits. For a small venue smack dab in the middle of one of the City’s most expensive neighborhoods, it sounded like a death sentence. But Segel viewed it as an opportunity.

“We lucked out,” says Segel. “[the city] could have fined us. Electrical alone could have fined us nine times the amount each permit that we would have had to been gotten in order to do the stuff that we did. But they didn’t fine us.” After months and months of work, and a heroic effort from the Viracocha community, the venue is back up and running and up to code.

Last week, hundreds of people came out to Viracocha’s re-opening headlined by Con Brio, a funk powerhouse that kept the crowd dancing the whole night. Con Brio drummer Andrew Laubacher is no stranger to Viracocha, having played dozens of gigs at the venue in the past four years. Andrew said the re-opening felt like a welcome home party for the community. “I think San Francisco, for all the flack it gets, still has a community. There are people that are willing to work and fight and struggle for things that we want to keep open.”

To Segel, Viracocha’s mission is about making sure that community is connected. “When we congregate and listen to music, listen to poetry, find out that we are creative beings, that we have our hearts and minds outside of the day to day ‘Hey, how ya doing?’ There’s a little bit more substance to our lives that we rarely get to share or experience. So, it’s always focusing on being more connected.”

[Photo: dangerventure]

Bar Bubble Goes Pop

Pop's New "Caretakers" Are Begging For Cash

When it was announced that Pop’s Bar had been sold to the owner of Madrone, we were hopeful the bar would maintain its cherished pisshole charm that made it the neighborhood institution it was. And for good reason: owner Michael Krouse gave good lip to the bar’s “authenticity” in interviews. He even went so far as to tell us that the bar would preserve its character:

The structural elements will remain in tact. There will be remodeling, and there will be changes to the look and feel. Much of that is still to be determined. However one of the main reasons for buying is POPS is that it has years of character already built in, and I feel thats important to maintain.

Seven months later, the bar has been gutted out and the owners are embarking on a quasi-Kickstarter. It seems the regrettable remodel of the Mission’s beloved Pop’s isn’t going to plan.

Krouse tells Uptown Almanac that renovations uncovered asbestos in the building, and that it forced construction costs to shoot up.

But the scope of the work we anticipated has increased, due to a few “surprises”. We had to remove all the asbestos, and completely redo all the plumbing and electrical work that was outdated and unsafe. The footprint of the old Pop’s has been retained exactly as it was before, and in the process of this all we have and continue to learn about the many different lives the bar has had. […]  The reason for the fundraising campaign was to help us get over the hump since the costs have risen substantially and to build a sense of ownership and family for anyone that wants to come in and hang out, have a beer, watch a game, or listen to music.

To raise the money, Pop’s new owners aren’t even using Kickerstart or Indiegogo. Instead, they are making their fundraising pitch on their own website with a prominent PayPal donate link. The accompanying fundraising video transcends simple secondhand mortification: it is straight-up painful to watch.

However, the campaign does come with some interesting rewards you can score for donating:

  • For $25, you can get high five (presumably in spirit only).
  • For $500, you get a Pop’s hoodie or t-shirt, your name on a donor plaque in the bar, a personalized mug kept at the Bar for your use, and a $150 bar spend.
  • For $2,500 (or more), they’ll name a bathroom after you.
  • For $5,000, they’ll hang your picture in the bar and “will toast you once a year during your very own Saints day.”

It’s hard to be bitter over Krouse and his partner buying the bar—Pop’s owners wanted to sell the place, and the building itself was clearly fucked. Having Krouse come in was about as good of an outcome as anyone could have wished for, particularly given the cocktail-shaker slant the neighborhood is adopting.

But the fundraiser campaign still gives us pause. Pop’s clientele has never been the types that have spare cash kicking around, just waiting to be tossed towards a for-profit business raising capital and drink prices. And then there’s the language: Pop’s owners refer to themselves as “caretakers” and talk about “[returning the bar] it to its former history.”

But Pop’s doesn’t need caretakers. What made the bar “iconic” was the fact there was absolutely nothing iconic about it. It was a piss-soaked hellhole of strong drink and flimsy flooring.  But it was our piss-soaked hellhole of strong drink and flimsy flooring.

It’s one of the least deserving spots in the city for a museum dedicated to itself. Its no Gold Dust Lounge—it’s just a place where people drank too much and crowdsurfed during DJ sets. It never came close to resembling a living museum.

We’ll hold our final judgment on the place until Pop’s re-opens their doors in late August/early September. But the fundraising video suggests it is turning into a Pop’s-themed bar, laced with a wall of photography reminiscent of Wise Sons Deli. And that would be a shame.

[Photo: Pop’s]