San Francisco

With building sold, Elbo Room to shutter at year's end [Updated]

In the latest twist in an ongoing saga, the building housing Valencia Street music venue and bar the Elbo Room was sold to new owners over the weekend, according to the Chronicle.

There's been speculation about Elbo Room's future since 2014, when Susan and Dennis Ring, who'd owned the building at 647 Valencia St. since 1991, first announced their plans to transform it into a five-story, seven-unit mixed-use condo building. 

Though Elbo Room co-owners Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu were able to extend their lease one last time in July 2017, Susan Ring put the building on the market earlier this year for $4.2 million, signaling decisive change for the neighborhood fixture.

“We were told it was going to happen," Shapiro told the Chron in October. "But since we don’t have the $4.2 million to buy [the building], there’s nothing we can do about it.” 

Photo: Andrea F./Yelp

Further complicating matters, Ring — a real estate agent who served as a broker for the property in this weekend's sale — stated that Elbo Room closed its doors on December 14. (We reached out to Ring for clarification, but did not receive a response.)

Shapiro said that's not the case, and confirmed to Hoodline that the bar will remain open until its lease ends on January 1, 2019. There will be no changes to its operating hours or schedule of upcoming events through the end of the year. 

It's not yet clear who the building's new owners are, or if plans to raze the building and erect a new development are still in the works. However, an application has been filed to transfer the business's liquor license to Steven Joel Schefsky of Polk Street's Playland Bar, along with John and Peter Tam. 

Update 12/21: SF Weekly reports that the bar's new owners are indeed behind Playland, and that they plan to keep the space going as a drinking hole and music venue, albeit with a different name. Schefsky told the Weekly that he hopes to reopen as early as Jan. 15 with a temporary license and new name TBD. His team will be making renovations to the space, such as adding new lighting, plumbing and electrical, and he intends to reopen the upstairs music venue after updates are made.

Cantu and Shapiro, whom had worked at the bar as managers and bookers since the early 2000s, officially bought the Elbo Room from the Rings in 2010. Earlier this year, they opened a second location in Oakland, Elbo Room Jack London, which will remain open after the Mission bar closes its doors.

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