clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Old Ship Saloon Scores a Second Chance at Life With New Owners

The historic bar moves on to a new chapter of its life

Old Ship Saloon
Old Ship Saloon
Rachel H./Yelp

Old Ship Saloon, a San Francisco bar since 1851, has just been kept safe. Current owner Bill Duffy was getting ready to retire when an anonymous group of people decided they didn’t want that to mean the end of the historic bar’s 166-year run.

So several bar and restaurant owners banded together under a limited liability company called Beware of Bird Island, which lists Marc Bruschera and Eric Passetti on the liquor license. Duffy says the group is dedicated to preserving the spirit of the bar and San Francisco landmarks like it.

The transfer will go through in the next couple of months, at which time the saloon will close for about a month for slight renovations. Duffy, who owns the building will stay on as landlord, ensuring the bar’s safe future.

It’s a rare win for San Francisco landmark bars, which seem to be in increasing danger lately, usually caused by jacked rent. Lefty O’Doul’s is in a current legal battle for its life, Mr. Bing’s was washed into a common Irish bar, Doc’s Clock had to find a new home, The Stud was saved by a different group of concerned patrons, and Liverpool Lil’s was forced to close after its landlord refused to renew the lease. So it’s certainly uplifting news to hear that an institution like Old Ship Saloon will live on.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Francisco newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world