It's a sad day for fans of Castro/Duboce Triangle dive Lucky 13 (2140 Market St.), which is giving up the ghost after five years of limbo with the property slated for development.
BrokeAss Stuart broke the news of the bar's closure, following several months in which it had been serving patrons outdoors on its fenced-in side patio. Longtime manager Martin Kraenkel tells Stuart, "It sucks to go out like this way. We always knew this was coming, but I would’ve loved to have a big blowout. Instead we’re closing down during COVID. I can’t even take the staff out to a bar afterwards."
Back in 2015, Hoodline broke the news that the owner of bar's property was looking to develop a condo project on the site, but Kraenkel followed up and said that the threat of the bar's ultimate demolition had been "hanging over our heads since 2002." Kraenkel later told reporter Alisa Scerrato about the history of the bar, which began as a clubhouse for the fraternal Woodsmen of the World organization in 1906. And, he said, the trapped-in-the-early-90s aesthetic of the place was on purpose.
"We did that intentionally," said Kraenkel. "We didn’t want it to change. We had our ups and downs. For a while, everything became a DJ bar and became a scene, and we were like, we’re going to stick to our guns. Either you like it or you don’t."
Lucky 13 opened in its current incarnation in 1993, 27 years ago, and over the years its maintained its vibe as a friendly booze den whose Facebook page description was "Where the pros come to drink." As BrokeAss Stuart noted, in addition to its pool table and cheap drinks, Lucky 13 was known for the free barbecue that happened on the patio on summer Saturdays, helping everybody drink more with a little food in them.
Bartender Noah Tao, who's been behind the stick at Lucky 13 for the past decade, said Thursday that the bar's last night will be December 20 — but now with all outdoor dining and drinking shutting down on Sunday, December 6, it sounds like Sunday will be the last day to say goodbye to the place. [Update: The bar posted to Facebook that indeed Sunday is the last day. "We will open at noon on Sunday and we are opening up the parking lot to provide more seating. Bring a growler or a mason jar and we can fill that with tap beer for you also!"]
Sadly, given that Kraenkel and his team knew their days were probably numbered no matter what, he was saying five years ago that he wanted to have a big blowout party if and when Lucky 13 finally met its end. "Remember when the old Rat and Raven closed?” he said, referring to another iconic bar in Noe Valley where he once worked, saying that the debauchery of the closing night party in 1999 went on until 10 a.m. the next day. "That’s what this will be like. If this bar does close, it will be one hell of a going-away party."