Correlation isn’t causation, but it seems like the one-two punch of San Francisco’s hold on reopening and California’s shutdown of indoor dining and bars that don’t serve food was the last straw for many San Francisco bars and restaurants, as news of another significant shuttering comes every day. Today, two notable spots announced their permanent closure: Lower Nob Hill dive institution the Summer Place and bakery Vive La Tarte’s Ferry Building location.
Hoodline reports that the Summer Place, a 23-year-old lounge at the corner of Bush and Mason Streets, has quietly made its temporary closure at the beginning of SF’s shelter in place a permanent one. Longer-term San Franciscans might recall that even after California banned smoking inside almost all public places in 1998, the Summer Place still allowed folks to light up. It was able to shirk the ban as, at the time, it was staffed solely by members of the Gordon family, who owned it since the 1990s. (The California ban is ostensibly a labor law, and applies specifically to places with employees, hence the family member loophole.)
Its run as a smokers’ paradise ended about eight years ago, Hoodline reports, when its landlord told the Gordons that smoking wouldn’t be permitted any more. The bar’s landlord also refused to negotiate with the Gordons once the pandemic hit, according to a vendor for the bar, and it was forced to shut down.
Moving toward the Bay, tacro destination Vive La Tarte has joined the long list of Ferry Building institutions that have closed in recent months, the SF Chronicle reports. It’s just the latest vacancy to hit the Ferry Building: Traci Des Jardins’ Mijita Cocina Mexicana shuttered after 15 years this past December, and celebrity soul food chef Tanya Holland closed her only SF restaurant, Brown Sugar Kitchen, in January, after less than a year.
Struggles over lease negotiations also shuttered 17-year-old MarketBar this spring, and Produce shop Farm Fresh to You also closed its Ferry Building doors on March 1. The San Francisco Fish Company, which had sold seafood out of the Ferry Building for the last 16 years, has also closed in recent weeks.
For its part, Vive La Tarte opened a kiosk at the Ferry Building in 2017, the first spot where it offered its cult-classic tacro, a taco-folded croissant stuffed with fillings like veggies and meat. Demand for the Instagrammable treat drove long lines at the kiosk, but the ongoing pandemic and traffic downturn at the typically tourist-heavy Ferry Building prompted owner Arnaud Goethals to shut things down.
“At the end of the day, we were like, ‘We’re leasing a kiosk at a place that’s supposed to have a lot of traffic and now we’re getting catering orders? It doesn’t make much sense,’” Goethals told the Chron.
To score Vive La Tarte’s baked goods, granolas, and cheesecake, one must now visit its Noe Valley location, which is open with limited hours. At present, tacros are not on the menu, but Goethals tells the Chron that that’s likely to change later this week — and when its location in SoMa reopens (date for that still TBD), expect the buzzy concoctions to be served there, as well.