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Wreck Room Opens After Major ABC Bummer

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On Friday we mentioned Wreck Room from R Bar owners Tod Alsman and Chris Fogarty was getting close. After this past weekend's soft opening, Alsman tells us they'll have limited hours of operation on Tuesday and then the regular hours of 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. will begin on Wednesday. After a total interior rehaul from the Nob Hill Tavern Sports Bar days, the bar now boasts a pool table, the aforementioned pop-a-shot and shuffleboard, 10 new TVs, a jukebox and the jet black exterior paint job you see above. There's also a surprisingly plush women's bathroom in there with wall-to-wall marble counter, crown molding, chandelier, retro-style vanity lights and a table-full of US Weekly magazines. "We felt we owed the ladies who have been putting up with R Bar's ladies room over the last 8 years," says Alsman. Now on to the matter of the ABC SNAFU.

You may remember Alsman and Fogarty took over this bar space here about a year ago. Since then, they've spent a good amount of time battling with the ABC over its antiquated tied-house laws: restrictions leftover from Prohibition meant to prevent the "ties" between breweries and bars that were commonplace in Europe at the time. More on all that can be be found here. Unfortunately, Alsman's wife Amy Hires was District Manager for Southern Wine & Spirits, a direct infringement on the tied-house law in the eyes of the ABC. After attempting to resolve the conflict for months, Hires ultimately had to demote herself two levels, becoming a "Specialist" at Southern so the Wreck Room could open. "I asked the ABC if they wanted me to get a divorce so that I could open my bar and they told me 'no, that wouldn't be good for your family'," recalls Alsman. "But forcing my wife to take a pay cut and demotion isn't exactly great for the family either." So titles were changed, the bar was opened, and all doesn't really feel right with the world. Now who's up for a Valentine's rally?

· All Previous Wreck Room Coverage [~ ESF ~]
· Winery Owner Founders on Tied-House Laws [W & V]

Wreck Room

1390 California St, San Francisco, CA