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New Bars Might Be Able to Open in the Castro for the First Time Since the ’80s

Plus, tamales are coming in hot, mochi is still saying farewell, and more food news

Rainbow Crosswalk Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Due to zoning rules, new bars haven’t been able to open in the Castro since 1987, but that might be about to change, SF Business Times reports. District Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced a new ordinance that would allow new bars to open, and the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve it this week. Apparently, the neighborhood was “saturated” with bars in the ‘80s, so the original intention was to balance the types of businesses within it, although new bars have been able to open over the years by taking over existing liquor licenses.

But now, there’s an argument in favor of inclusion. The Castro can receive criticism for being cisgender and gay male-centric, as well as suffering from many vacant storefronts, as the Bay Area Reporter already pointed out. But this new ordinance aims to open up opportunities for new business owners who might be queer women, trans, or people of color. The ordinance will need to pass a second vote before hitting Mayor London Breed’s desk for final signature, but it does not appear to be facing much opposition. [Bay Area Reporter, SF Business Times]

La Guerrera tamales are coming in hot

As anticipated, favorite tamale maker La Guerrera’s Kitchen will open later this month in Swan’s Market, Berkeleyside confirms. Mother-daughter duo Reyna Maldonado and Ofelia Barajas are settling into their new home in the former Cosecha space, and plan to dig in “late January,” with an expanded menu of tamales, chile relleno, barbacoa, pozole, as well as brunch chilaquiles and cafe de olla, and maybe even a liquor license to come.

Benkyodo prolongs the sad mochi farewell

Benkyodo, that century-old mochi institution in Japantown, is still saying a sad farewell. The owners announced plans to retire last year, and they still hadn’t found any buyers as of the new year. The San Francisco Chronicle has the update that they will not be closing until the end of March, so there are still a couple of months to get in line for mochi, manju, and other sweet confections. [SF Chronicle]

Nerd alert: There’s a Lego bar landing in Fruitvale

For the adult children and engineering types of the Bay, there’s a new pop-up bar coming to town. The Brick Bar is popping up at Ale Industries on 10th Street on April 23 and 24, and apparently, there will be more than a million toy blocks, table tennis tournaments, live DJs, and, oh right, wine, beer, and cocktails. Here’s a video teaser, and tickets are right this way.

Oakland, get ready to flash those vax cards

As previously announced, the city of Oakland will start requiring proof of vaccination on February 1, KRON4 reminds East Bay eaters and drinkers. So before setting foot in a restaurant or bar, get ready to show those vax cards. [KRON4]