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Polk Street’s Hemlock Tavern Will Close in Early October

The bar and venue is making way for new housing

Hemlock Tavern

Polk Street bar and backroom music venue Hemlock Tavern has been sold and will close in early October before its building is demolished to make way for new housing. The business announced the news, which will be difficult for fans to swallow, in a Facebook post today.

The writing’s been on the wall for the entire 1145 Polk Street block, which includes 1131 Polk and the Hemlock Tavern: The city began reviewing developer Dolmen Property Group’s plans to raze the property in December 2017.

The latest development there is that the bar decided to take an offer for sale. “The Hemlock Tavern and its liquor license have recently been sold to the same real estate developers that purchased our property back in 2015,” a representative for the bar writes. “The new owners of the Hemlock Tavern will be moving forward with their plans to demolish the building... and construct a 54-unit mixed-use condominium building in its place.”

“The Hemlock Tavern, in its current physical and metaphysical configurations, will cease to exist after the first week of October 2018. We will be operating as usual and featuring a full schedule of live music from now through Sept. 30th, 2018. We will close for good following our 17th anniversary party on Saturday, October 6th.”

As of March, area supervisor Aaron Peskin sought to add a planning code amendment that would make it possible for liquor store and bars displaced by building demolition to return after construction, a move tailored to help Hemlock. That won’t bring it back to life, now that it’s sold, but with a liquor license and retail space to fill in the mixed use building, it’s possible a bar will return to the space. But with residential above, a music venue is less likely to resurface.

In parting, Hemlock Tavern thanked fans for their patronage.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of our patrons, supporters, and the approximately 15,000 local/national/international bands and music acts that performed over 5,000 shows in our back room since October 2001. Running a live music venue was always a labor of love and we’re proud to have contributed to the cultural life of San Francisco and the Bay Area. It was a great run.