Earlier this week, it became known that Cafe Flore may be threatening closure if several demands are not approved. The owners of the Castro establishment have started a website detailing their desires, namely the options to stay open later, serve alcohol later and have a DJ. The rationale given by the Flore folks is pretty basic: nearby businesses (Harvey's, Lime) are open late, so it's merely a case of keeping up with the competition. Plus, giving Flore a bar tilt will, ahem, "help community fundraising efforts."
You've heard the Pro argument; now, in the interest of an open forum, we'd like to present the case against Cafe Flore, made by a neighbor in the Eater Comments. The crux of the argument is basically that the Save Cafe Flore movement is just a money ploy to resell the cafe. Furthermore, the proposed changes would turn the place into a neighborhood menace, if not immediately, then in the future. The full argument follows:
Although the owner might be a long time resident, he is NOT the long term owner of Cafe Flore. The problem is, that when he purchased Cafe Flore a few years ago, he OVERPAID and got in over his head.
They are already abusing the additional sidewalk seating by crowding the Noe St. sidewalk on weekends so tightly that you have to walk in single file in between the tables just to get past the restaurant. This itself is a major planning code violation that occurs every single weekend.
He is now trying to get a 24 hour license as well as late night liquor sales in a not terribly clever attempt to boost the bottom line in order for him to re-sell the property as a bar.
The majority of Cafe Flore is open air, we do not need amplified music at night at this location unless they soundproof their main building, which is something they are not prepared to do.
Comparing themselves to Harvey's is crazy as Harvey's is a bar that serves food, NOT a restaurant that serves liquor. Cafe Flore is and should remain a food establishment first and foremost. And Lime is hated by locals as well as fellow business owners due to the constant stream of DRUNK straight "hipster wannabees" who invade the hood on a daily basis. I was in a neighboring store over the weekend and some drunk was outside yelling...the owner made the remark "I guess Lime is getting started earlier than usual today"....this is not good for the neighborhood.
If the planning department does grant what he is wishing, I would hope that there would be stringent enforcement of noise levels, as well, I would like to see a deed restriction so that the property could NOT be sold and turned into a bar once he gets what he is asking for.
· Cafe Flore Threatens Closure, Makes Demands [~ESF~]
· Save Cafe Flore [Official Site]
As always, your reactions and musings in the comments field or straight to us.