Healthy Spirits will open its fourth location in San Francisco at 300 Valencia St., formerly T&M Market. The popular bottle shop, known for its wide selection of whiskey and craft beer, also has locations in the Castro, Inner Richmond, and Bernal Heights.
Rami Barqawi, the store’s owner, signed the lease for the Valencia Street store in January 2016, but he said progress has been slow going.
“It’s just one hurdle after another after another,” Barqawi said. “I’m numb.”
He said the space has been completely gutted.
“There’s a creek in the basement,” Barqawi laughed. “There's non-stop running water.”
Barqawi said the unexpected water (which appeared after digging about one foot) delayed construction by four months. “We had to put in a French drain and sump pumps,” he said. “I've got a nice little basement now.”
Healthy Spirits' owner called the 300 Valencia St. location both a “blessing from above" and a risk.
“My heart said 'Don’t do it, you have a lot on the table and kids at home,' but my mind said 'You can’t not do it—you don’t say no to being on Valencia.'”
Barqawi ultimately seized the opportunity, and is holding true to the concept he’s established over the years. “The neighborhood here needs a concept like mine,” he told us. "I think this will be my best store by far."
For now, 300 Valencia St. will only operate as a liquor store, unlike some of Healthy Spirits' other locations, which offer tastings.
Barqawi is hoping to open in mid-July, but given the delays and obstacles he’s experienced thus far, “it will open when it’s ready to open," he said, laughing.
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