The Tenderloin has a larger collection of dive bars anywhere else in the city, but those numbers are gradually eroding. The 21 Club closed its doors last month at Taylor & Turk and is set to become the new location of Big, an upscale cocktail bar. Other dives are getting makeovers: the Nite Cap was completely gutted and revamped last year, and the Ha-Ra just reopened with new owners and a new look.
The latest casualty is the Castle Club, one of the TL's more nondescript locals-only watering holes. It closed its doors at 823 Geary St. sometime over the summer, and the 600-square-foot space is up for lease. Billed as "both a great short and long-term opportunity," complete with existing bar infrastructure, the Castle has been stripped down to its bar top and essential components.
Photo: Santino DeRose/Craigslist
Though we can't confirm the exact reasons behind the closure, a regular named Stevie C. chimed in on Yelp back in June, explaining that the "owners are retiring and cashing in on a new breed of younger clients."
"I get the impression many of the older patrons here are taxi drivers," he mused. "They seem to know where the value spots are. The younger patrons may be bored with this bar, unless they've fallen in love with one of the bartenders." He reminisced about the old jukebox, which in years past would play Chinese and Korean pop songs, in addition to American pop classics. "It was one of few bars for this SF working class who are just a bit too young to retire and too old with few choices of jobs out there to change."
According to business records, the Castle Club had been around since 1997. We'll keep an eye out for what might be moving in to the space next.
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