Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on May 19, 2024
Presidio Social Club Closes After 18 Years in San Francisco Amid Rising Costs and Lease StrugglesSource: Google Street View

After nearly two decades of serving the San Francisco community, the beloved Presidio Social Club has permanently shut its doors, with Mother’s Day marking its final service. The decision to close the iconic establishment, situated in former military barracks with picturesque views of the Presidio, was rooted in escalating operational costs and staffing struggles, according to owner Ray Tang. The restaurant, famed for its casual American cuisine and charming ambience, had welcomed around 2 million patrons since its 2006 inception, Tang relayed in a heartfelt announcement on the restaurant's website.

As detailed in a San Francisco Chronicle report, Tang grappled with the decision to raise prices or close the restaurant, ultimately opting for the latter to maintain fairness to his longstanding customers, voicing his unwillingness to compromise the restaurant's value for the sake of higher revenues; however, Tang also told the SF Standard in March that contentious lease negotiations with the Presidio Trust bore resemblance to "dealing with Putin," further fueling the choice to cease operations.

Rising overhead—comprising rent hikes and wages—posed an untenable economic hurdle for the Presidio Social Club. Once operating with a staff of 85 individuals, the team had significantly dwindled by its end, Tang revealed to the SFGATE. Rent increases—a jump from $15,993 to $22,677 per month—and the ongoing pandemic's aftermath economically crippled the establishment, spelling out a 50% dip in sales since 2019 against the backdrop of the district’s raised minimum wage.

Adding insult to injury, an unsightly construction site across from the restaurant's adored patio lingered as an eyesore for two years, diminishing the dining experience that Tang prioritized for his clientele, he conveyed in disappointment during discussions with the SF Standard. Moving forward, Tang harbors intentions to possibly establish a new, smaller dining venture, undeterred by the recent setback, “I’m a longtime San Franciscan, and I’m not done yet,” he expressed with enduring spirit, looking ahead for another opportunity to serve the city he calls home.