Lower Haight Bar Once Again Embroiled In Major News Story

Lower Haight Bar Once Again Embroiled In Major News Story
Devon Chulick/Instagram
By Andrew Dudley - Published on June 03, 2014.
Yesterday afternoon, a Lower Haight bar once again stood witness to a bizarre news story, this time involving a hunted man, the Feds, and a day-long chase across the city.

As you may have heard, former San Francisco political worker Ryan Chamberlain became an FBI fugitive this weekend after agents raided his Russian Hill house and reportedly found explosives. His whereabouts where unknown until yesterday afternoon, when he stopped by neighborhood sports bar Mad Dog In The Fog to use the ATM. He was arrested later in the afternoon near Crissy Field — “right under the Golden Gate bridge,” one law enforcement source told ABC News

Little is known about Chamberlain’s exact motives or plans. He’s been in and out of city politics for many years, working as a field manager on Gavin Newsom’s successful mayoral campaign in 2003, followed by some other, less successful efforts. As the SF Weekly notes, he is perhaps best known for a scatological campaign flier against Chris Daly during a District 6 election in 2006 — although he denied responsibility. 

He published what sounded like a suicide note yesterday, relating a series of personal and professional setbacks, but no specific threats. And that’s not the only missing piece of information: we still don’t know what prompted the FBI to raid his house in the first place.

Jules Nicholson, a bartender at Mad Dog, tells us she was working behind the bar around 3pm when about 5 FBI agents came in asking if anyone had seen Chamberlain. They told her that they believed he had just stopped in to use the ATM about 20 minutes earlier, but had not stayed for a drink. Nicholson told them she had seen someone use the ATM, but couldn't identify him as Chamberlain.

Nicholson says that the FBI agents were "so nice," and left pretty quickly after they arrived.  However, within minutes word began to spread via Twitter that the FBI had descended upon Haight Street, and the news media soon followed.  Nicholson says the rest of her day was crazy, with even CNN and Telemundo stopping by the bar seeking interviews.

Devon Chulick, owner of D-Structure, told us that 3 FBI agents were canvassing Haight Street yesterday with a photo of Chamberlain.  "Have you seen this guy around?" they asked Chulick, who was standing outside his shop next to Mad Dog at the time. Chulick told them he hadn't, and they continued onward down the street.

And with that, the national news cycle rolled through yet another local watering hole.