Food delivery robot companies are using UC Berkeley as a testing ground
The New York Times has an update on the bot startup Kiwi Campus, whose GPS-equipped robots have made over 60,000 food deliveries on and near UC Berkeley campus in the past two years. (East Bay residents have probably spent time waiting at a crosswalk with one of the little guys.) The bots are operated via remote control by staffers located in Medellín, Colombia, and are apparently a hit with students and workers like Maya Goehring-Harris, the school’s associate director of external relations. Citing hygiene, Goehring-Harris says that “food safety means less human involvement,” and there’s a cost savings, too: “I don’t tip a robot.”
Black Sands Brewery is closing at the end of the year
Lower Haight brewpub Black Sands was purchased by beer company Fort Point at the end of 2018, following an announcement that its then-owners wanted to pursue new ventures. Late Wednesday afternoon, Fort Point announced that it would close Black Sands as of January 1, 2020, renovate the space, and reopen in mid-2020 as “Fort Point Lower Haight.” As part of the revamp, Fort Point plans to expand the spot’s “brewery and brewing capabilities,” but other changes to the venue have yet to be revealed.
The Geary Club’s liquor license has reportedly been suspended
According to Hoodline, patrons of Tenderloin dive the Geary Club have been met with a handwritten sign that says the 768 Geary Street spot had been “closed until further notice.” The place has been under the ownership of 84-year-old June Russell for the last 40 years, but she recently sold the Club to Justin Trujillo (a co-owner of Tempest) and Michael Levin (the GM at Hazel). The closure wasn’t part of the plan, Trujillo tells Hoodline, and he hopes to get the doors back open by next week.
331 Cortland Marketplace is shutting its doors
331 Cortland Marketplace, a multi-stall venue for small and independent food businesses, has been helping fledgling makers get their starts for nearly a decade, That ends on December 23, the SF Chronicle reports, as Marketplace (and building) owner Debra Resnik has found a new tenant to take over the space.
A new bar called Viridian will rise in the former Plum Bar space
Daniel Patterson’s Plum Bar quietly shuttered last month, the windows of its 2216 Broadway space covered in paper, Hoodline reported at the time. Berkeleyside now reports that the new tenants are two veterans of the Bay Area bartending scene, Will Tsui and Raymond Gee, who will be opening a new spot called Viridian by winter of 2020. The pair seems to run in fashionable SF cocktail circles: They were recently seen doing a Halloween night popup at Moonlight Lounge.