Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Arts & Culture
Published on December 22, 2022
Kilowatt wins its bid to become a live music venue again Image: Sara T via Yelp

Mission Local reported last month that 16th Street bar Kilowatt was up for sale, but a new ownership team had already been identified. “A new group of bartenders from the popular Potrero Hill music venues Bottom of the Hill and Thee Parkside have already applied for ownership," Mission Local reported. And not long after, those new owners started up an online petition to permit Kilowatt to have live music again

But permits are not handed out by petitions in this town. A Place Of Entertainment Permit is granted by the SF Entertainment Commission. And at their Tuesday night meeting, the commission voted unanimously to give the new Kilowatt owners that Place Of Entertainment Permit, which the Kilowatt said would be used for “Live bands, drag shows, comedy and more.”

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“We are the new owners of the Kilowatt,” said Katie Rose McCarthy, flanked by her new co-owners Peter Nevin and Rick Eusey. “The Kilowatt has a rich history as a music venue, as a bar, as an event space. Our goal is to preserve that history.”

“As a huge music history nerd, it’s an honor to be taking over this space,” Eusey added. “The band Pavement, they did their record release show [at Kilowatt] for their 1997 'Brighten the Corners.'

“I can't think of a time where I’ve seen a venue that has stopped doing music, and there’s the ability to bring that back,” he said. “It’s a really rare and incredible opportunity.”

McCarthy insisted that the new ownership’s experience at Bottom of the Hill and Thee Parkside prepared them to be good neighbors in the Mission. “We’re used to basically working in venues that are semi–residential, and having a good relationship with neighbors is very important, one of the most important things.” And of her partners, she said “They’re excellent at soundproofing, they’ve done it before.”

The Entertainment Commission enthusiastically granted the permit in a unanimous vote. “As an aging riot grrrl, I’m so excited to have folks that are industry veterans, who know how to do this successfully in a way that honors the history of the space, and in a way that really gives back to the community,” commissioner Cyn  Wang said before the vote. “And I think it’s going to be a big part of the story of San Francisco coming back, too.”

The Kilowatt space at 3160 16th Street is currently closed, as the new team is in the process of revamping the interior. The new team says they’re “slated to open their doors early next year” in 2023