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San Francisco’s Church of Gin Will Close Until at Least March

Plus, a new restaurant readies to take over the former Black Star Pirate BBQ spot and more Bay Area food intel

Patricia Chang

The months following the holidays tend to be a slower time for bars and restaurants, and now at least one San Francisco business is looking to ride it out with a temporary closure: Whitechapel, that favorite gin-forward bar on Lower Polk, announced on social media that it will be closed through March 2023, as first reported by Hoodline.

In the post, the owners say a slow rebound in the neighborhood, due in part to the trend toward remote work that’s led to low occupancy in offices nearby, factored into the decision. “Lower Polk businesses have been quiet and hoped-for new residential construction has been slow to be finished,” the post continues. “All of which has left us in a sleepy part of town.”

Ominously, the post goes on to say that after March the bar group will “see how things are looking.”

It is worth noting that during Whitechapel’s closure, the bar’s owners stated in the post that the space will be available for private events, with bartenders and a kitchen crew at the ready. Maybe Whitechapel’s fans can go in on at least one private event together until the bar reopens to the public.

New restaurant to take over former Black Star Pirate BBQ spot

It was inevitable that a new restaurant would take over the picturesque spot formerly occupied by Black Star Pirate BBQ in Richmond, and now we know who’s moving in. Chef Arnon Oren of Richmond catering business, Anaviv Events, will open a yet-to-be-named business, East Bay Nosh reports. Oren says he plans to grow produce for the restaurant on the property, and the opening menu will feature wood-fired pizzas from his previous business, Anaviv Open Market; a Brazilian seafood stew; and other items that befit a property that is “half land and half sea,” Berkeleyside states. The plan is to open the fast-casual spot in February.

Meat-centric ‘specialty market’ wants to move into the Castro

It seems that the oft-troubled site of the 7-Eleven at 18th and Noe streets could potentially get a new tenant in the form of a Los Angeles-based specialty meat market selling beef, poultry, pork, and seafood. The (aptly?) named Muuu Meat is in the process of trying to lock down the spot, Hoodline reports, but given that the company owns 36 locations between California, Texas, Illinois, and Florida, will need to go through San Francisco’s formula retail permit process. A pre-application meeting with the neighborhood is set for Friday, January 20.

Berkeley’s Paris Baguette says ‘au revoir’ after 10 years

The Berkeley location of Korean bake shop Paris Baguette has shuttered. The location quietly closed on January 1, SFGATE reports, but there was no word on the reason for its closure. The bakery chain fell under some controversy last year after a factory worker in South Korea was killed in a workplace accident. Staff resumed production hours after the employee was found dead, leading to boycotts of the chain and an eventual apology from the chairman of the company.

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