In what could be the first case of a neighborhood bar reverse gentrifying in a long, long time, we're thrilled to report that Dear Mom and the Thieves empire has given up on Evelyn Lee and is reportedly returning ownership of the bar to the displaced staff of Mission Hill Saloon.
It was exactly a year ago to the day that we tepidly broke the news that Mission Hill Saloon, the somewhat maligned neighborhood hangout, was being purchased by the folks by Dear Mom. We were unsure if that meant fancy cocktails (it didn't) or a radically redesigned bar (nope), but we were certain we'd see a change. And change it did. The charming blowhard regulars weren't quite so welcome, the Mission Hill Saloon bartenders were fired, and they gave the place pretty much the worst bar name imaginable (“The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee”).
For all their effort, no one went there. As one source close to SF Thieves tells us:
The neighbors to The Saloon left it alone while [Thieves] begged for outsiders to come in. When that didn't happen, they were left begging for the regulars to come back.
The regulars did come back—found nightly huddled up on the left end of the bar berating the world—but it wasn't enough to save the bar from reportedly losing money. So rather than hold onto a failing bar, we're told Thieves sold the license to a collective of old regulars, former Mission Hill bartenders and staff. And they wasted no time dismantling what was left of Evelyn Lee, gleefully cheering the removal of its sign and joking about shitting on it as Lee's bartenders finished their final shifts.
To borrow a page from Dr. Thompson, is Potrero Ave. the high-water mark—that place where the wave of gentrification finally broke and rolled back to Valencia? No, we're not foolish enough to think that. But it's refreshing to know the neighborhood's most successful and, arguably, trendiest bar empire can't even turn some places upscale.