Long-loved Union Square bar and restaurant Lefty O’Doul’s was closed in January 2017 by a bitter dispute between its landlord and operator, with each asserting rights to ownership of the baseball-focused establishment’s name and memorabilia. Now a new branch of the restaurant appears bound for Fisherman’s Wharf, according to a type 47 liquor license application. That location is 145 Jefferson Street, the former bi-level home of Rainforest Cafe, which shut down suddenly last October.
The news is a bit of deja vu, because Lefty O’Doul’s operator, Nick Bovis, already moved one recognizable SF establishment, the Gold Dust Lounge, to Fisherman’s Wharf in 2013 in the wake of a dispute with his landlord Jon Handlery. Handlery and Bovis apparently don’t get along very well: He was also Bovis’ landlord at Lefty O’Doul’s in Union Square. As of February, the two parties were still locked in a legal battle over rights to the Lefty O’Doul’s name.
According to the liquor license application, the new business in Fisherman’s Wharf will be called Lefty O’Doul’s Ballpark Buffet and Cafe, and its owner is Lod Ballpark Buffet, LLC, which lists Bovis as an officer. Eater SF has reached out to Bovis and his attorney for details and will add updates accordingly.
Update, 1:30 p.m: A representative for the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District confirms that the new Lefty O’Doul’s is headed to the former Rainforest Cafe space: “The bottom floor will have a San Francisco Giants Dugout Store and a cafe serving Starbucks coffee. The top floor will be the Lefty’s space,” the representative explains.