Quantcast

Tenderloin bar Whiskey Thieves to shutter at month's end

Photo: Stephen Jackson/Hoodline
By Alisa Scerrato - Published on January 23, 2019.

Whiskey Thieves (839 Geary St., between Hyde and Larkin streets) will soon be closing its doors. After 15 years of business in the Tenderloin, the neighborhood dive bar will serve its last drink on January 31.

The bar is owned and operated by Paul Bavaro, who also owns two bars in the Mission: Thieves Tavern on 14th Street and Blind Cat (originally called "Dirty Thieves") on 24th Street.

Bavaro also owned a third Mission bar, Dear Mom, which he transformed into Darger Bar before closing it last March. 

Although Whiskey Thieves was his "first true whiskey bar" at one point, serving up to 275 types of whiskey, Bavaro said he's been trying to center all of his remaining bars around neighborhood affordability of late. For a while, he said, the bar offered the best prices in town.

But Whiskey Thieves just couldn't sustain itself. The bar has been losing money for three years in a row, and Bavaro now believes that dive bars are on the decline in San Francisco.

"That idea might be done in the city," he said. "A dive-y bar might not be what people want anymore."

Photo: Whiskey Thieves/Facebook

High rents didn't help either, he said.

"Hopefully someone else can move into that spot and do a better job," he said. "I got tired of chasing the whiskey gang. People in the neighborhood just weren't going there anymore."

Bavaro said he hopes to eventually reestablish Whiskey Thieves in another location, as his bars in the Mission are still fairly "healthy." But even they aren't doing as well as they did when he first opened them; he says business at Thieves Tavern and Blind Cat is down by about 25 percent.

"It's a hard town, but a beautiful city," he said. "We just love the customers and staff. We had a great run. 15 years!"

"Thanks to all the people who have come to Whiskey Thieves all these years. Even though people would come for the whiskey, I always thought of it as a neighborhood bar."

About 11 hours ago
San Francisco Cole Valley Upper Haight

Developers host planning meeting for 730 Stanyan affordable housing project this evening

Tonight from 6 to 8 p.m., developers of the 100% affordable housing project slated for construction at 730 Stanyan Street will host a third community meeting for area residents, to answer questions, reveal further information about potential site design, and solicit feedback. Read More

Oct 28, 2020
San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Russian Hill

Remembering The Mandarin, the Ghirardelli Square mecca of regional Chinese cuisine

San Francisco food icon Cecilia Chiang, proprietor of the legendary Mandarin restaurant, died Wednesday at the age of 100, and with her goes a century of taste memories and a long lifetime of stories spanning two continents and multiple wars. Read More

Oct 27, 2020
San Francisco Civic Center Mid-Market Tenderloin

PianoFight opens new virtual venue to raise funds for its future

The team behind PianoFight is launching a virtual venue this week with a fundraising event that aims to let attendees mingle and interact safely from their own homes. Read More

Oct 27, 2020
San Francisco Castro

Castro CBD announces plan for security camera town hall & online survey

Last week the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (Castro CBD) announced plans to seek immediate community feedback regarding a controversial proposal to install a private network of security cameras. Read More