After five years of making its way through the San Francisco permitting process, a new apartment building is set to rise on Valencia Street, which means Irish pub the Phoenix will soon head off into the sunset. Phoenix owner Eugene Power confirmed the long-running bar’s last day of service is Super Bowl Sunday, February 12, calling the closure “bittersweet.”
The plan for the apartment building has been in the works since 2018 with approval to demolish the 63-year-old building landing in April 2022. The bar “never fully reopened” after COVID and has been operating at night and on weekends, Power says, but now with the closure set for Sunday, they’ll move forward with the teardown scheduled for sometime in March and construction to follow soon after. The six-story building will have 18 “European-style” one-bedroom apartments, he says, not the Single Room Occupancy units with shared bathrooms or kitchens previously included in the 2018 building plans, as reported by Mission Local.
There are also plans to install a commercial space on the ground floor with a parklet permit for the exterior; it’ll be ready for a food or bar operator to move in when the building is completed in May 2024. While Power will own the building, he says he will not be involved with the new venture, but he’s looking for a “quality” business that will fit the Valencia Street corridor.
Power says the move to install an apartment building came out of considering his own retirement after working in the hospitality industry for 40 years, and the fact that he preferred not to be the landlord of a bar operator. When looking at options of what to do with the Phoenix, he thought this was the best exit. Citing the housing crisis, he says, “I’m putting something back in that’s a value to me and the neighborhood. I think it’s a perfect fit for the neighborhood, it is filling a need and it drives me on to the next chapter in my life.”
With Super Bowl Sunday set to be the Phoenix’s last day, Power says he’ll be at the bar to welcome anyone who would like to say goodbye. “I would really like to thank everybody in the neighborhood for all their support and their stories and everything that happened,” Power says. “There’s people that have met in the Phoenix and got married and had kids and families. It’s shocking, I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so it’s the end of an era.”
The Phoenix (811 Valencia Street) is set to close on Sunday, February 12, and will open for the last time starting at noon.