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Museum of Ice Cream Dissed, Dismissed by SF Supervisors in Attempt to Open a Bar

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There’ll be no wine-y ice cream or beer floats or whatever

The sprinkle pool at MOIC; Dive-In would have been overlooking it
Patricia Chang

The Musuem of Ice Cream blasted its way into San Francisco in 2017 with a glut of sugary-sweet, Instagrammable ice cream-related installations, including a pool of sprinkles. Initially intended as a temporary installation, the instantly popular “museum” became permanent in 2018, regularly selling out its $38 tickets.

Most recently, co-founders Manish Vora and Maryellis Bunn announced plans to open a scoop shop and a cafe serving beer and wine. Unfortunately for them, they did so before securing a liquor license for the space, and on Tuesday were denied a liquor license by SF’s board of supervisors for the second time (the first was in February).

The bar, called Dive-In, was intended to complement the cafe, that is operating now as Cafe 1905c (named after the Pantone pink that covers every surface in the museum). It’s open to the public, serving a minuscule menu of sweet fried dough, bubble tea, french fries and a $21 “snack pack” for kids with choice of mozzarella sticks or chicken nuggets with fries, a juice box, and a toy. And, obviously, ice cream in rotating flavors.

Dive-In would have served “wine and beer cocktails combined with the sweetest toppings and one-of-a-kind flavor profiles.” However, the board of supervisors determined that granting a liquor license to MOIC “will not serve the public convenience or necessity of the City and County of San Francisco.”

In response, Vora and Bunn released a statement, declaring their intent to continue to pursue a liquor license for the space.

While the denial of our proposed liquor license by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors was not the outcome we and the San Francisco community anticipated, this delay will not deter us from our steadfast mission to offer a city so deeply imbued in technology and dominated by multi-billion dollar tech companies, with a safe, family-friendly, offline space that fosters happiness and joy.

We strongly disagree with the Board’s decision and will be appealing this license decision, and are confident our Museum of Ice Cream family across the globe will rally with us to get people, young and old off their phones, and back interacting, connecting and eating ice cream..with an occasional splash of local wine and local beer mixed in. We hope for our sake and for the many non-technology businesses that aim to revive the challenging retail ecosystem in this city, that we are given an opportunity to continue to do business despite opposition to what we believe is in the best interest of our community.

Though it’s unclear how the museum, which gained popularity for its extremely social media-friendly aesthetic, will get people offline and off their phones, drinking a glass of wine after a frenetic dash through a pink-hued stimulation overload isn’t the worst idea. Still, announcing a bar without even applying for a license was a misstep that may have affected its outcome: supervisor Aaron Peskin told the Examiner it was a “presumptuous” move that left several supervisors “taken aback.”

Ultimately though, Peskin and the supervisors felt that there’s really just no need for a boozy ice cream parlor in downtown San Francisco. “It’s an area of The City that has the highest concentration of beer and wine and liquor in the city and they didn’t really make a good case for it,” Peskin said.

Though Vora and Bunn seem confident that they’ll get what they (and “their community”) wants, it may be last call for Dive-In. Stay tuned.

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