Bar owner John Dampeer is closing his original Noe Valley pub Caskhouse, opened at 3853 24th Street in 2013, and shifting his full attention to its larger sibling bar and restaurant Hamlet, which opened a block away in 2015 at 24th and Church. “It’s a natural progression,” says Dampeer, whose five-year lease at Caskhouse is up at the end of the month. “We’ve transitioned the whole vibe over to Hamlet from Caskhouse anticipating this.” Caskhouse is already closed to customers, with signs directing them to Hamlet instead.
For Noe Valley, a family neighborhood with the atmosphere of a village (or hamlet), “having two very similar bars a block away from each other doesn’t make sense,” says Dampeer. Hamlet’s space is larger than that of Caskhouse, and “it’s the same food, and same beer, but more food, and more beer,” as Caskhouse was — plus cocktails thanks to a full liquor license.
Looking ahead, Hamlet will continue to do business as usual. “We just want to keep serving neighborhood tavern food,” says Dampeer. The bar first opened with a more extensive menu, but pared it down last summer to focus on popular bar bites like pretzels, tacos, burgers, and salads.
In the end, Dampeer says the timing couldn’t have been better. The beer refrigeration at Caskhouse stopped working a little over a week ago. That’s when he put up the sign inviting Caskhouse customers to come over to Hamlet.