San Francisco institution Sinbad’s is about to set sail from Pier 2—forever. The restaurant, which has been in operation on the waterfront since the 1970s, has received its marching orders from the Port of San Francisco, effective March 21.
The Port, which rents the space to brothers and Sinbad’s co-owners Tom, Charles and Duane Stinson, is under pressure from the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to evict the restaurant, in preparation for construction on the new downtown ferry terminal. The Examiner reports that the terminal is a key part of the emergency evacuation plan for the Water Emergency Transportation Agency, a transit hub in case the Bay Bridge or BART's transbay tube are rendered inoperable during a disaster. Additionally, Sinbad’s has been a bit of a "thorn in the Port’s side," with reports of sewage leaks into the San Francisco Bay (as recently as last month), not to mention some late rent payments, bounced checks, and even a few "vermin-related" health violations over the years.
This is not the first time that Sinbad's has been under threat of closure—back in 2012, the restaurant agreed to close by December 31, 2014, but was eventually able to finagle an extension on their lease until March 21, 2015 (with the notable stipulation that there would be no more extensions granted). However, co-owner Tom Stinson told The Examiner that the WETA won’t actually begin construction on the ferry terminal until 2016, which would give the restaurant plenty of time to continue to employ their workforce of 32 to 48 people and find a new location along the waterfront.
Despite the growing number of obstacles, Duane Stinson says that he plans to operate in the space until next year, telling Inside Scoop that "We’ve been good port tenants. There are no issues." But despite the Stinson brothers' confidence, the Port appears to be standing their ground on that March 21 deadline, telling Stinson in a recent letter that they are "unable to extend your stay at Pier 2 beyond March 21, 2015."
Whether Sinbad's complies with the orders to exit by March 21 or manages to linger through the end of the year, it’s set to be the end of an era for the retro restaurant, whose dated menu boasts lobster thermidor and blackened fish. Nonetheless, it's beloved by many for its incredible views of the Bay Bridge and its cheap drinks, and will certainly be missed. On the upside, the ferry terminal that will replace the iconic spot will provide an escape route for SF’s citizens in the event of natural disaster (or the recent Godzilla film becoming a reality).