After a two-alarm fire gutted The Riptide, the popular hangout for local surfers and Outer Sunset residents, owners David Quinby and Les James have actively been working to rebuild. The goal is a Riptide reopening in late spring, and there are definite signs of progress: A new roof has been installed, and Quinby and James are working to reacquire lost Barbary Coast-era antiques. "We want to open as the same musical chapel we were before." Quinby said.
A GoFundMe campaign this fall helped raised money for the rebuild, though Quinby declined to detail how much was raised or how much it will cost to rebuild, though there were at least $600,000 in damages. The fire, which completely destroyed the interior of the building, was an electrical fire that started in a neighboring business. Amazingly, the old growth redwood studs in the walls and ceiling survived the flames, and the brick floor and fireplace are also still there. Everything else, though, including all of the maritime antiques and treasures from Quinby’s travels, were destroyed.
Sadly, that also includes "Bou," the 150-year-old taxidermy Caribou head that watched over patrons as they drank beers and listened to music. The plan is to replace Bou with "an animal with as peaceful an expression as Boo had," Quinby said. The neighborhood has also been pitching in with the rebuild, offering collectibles and things to hang on the wall, like a hand-build frame for a Life magazine cover featuring Johnny Cash to replace an autographed Cash album that burned. Quinby and Les are optimistic about the late spring timeline, at which time they’ll refocus again on the restaurant they are opening two doors down, which the fire put on hold.