An electrifying moment dazzled Mission Street Tuesday night, as the relocated Doc’s Clock neon sign was finally lit up again. SF Weekly was on hand to get pictures and video of the relighting ceremony that brought a happy ending to a lengthy saga over the 57-year-old retro neon marquee.
“The sign’s back. We’re complete again,” Doc’s Clock owner Carey Suckow tells SF Weekly.
While the bar Doc’s Clock simply moved 800 feet north to its new 2417 Mission St. location last summer, its neon marquee had a far more complicated rigamarole. The landlord of the previous location would not allow the sign to be moved, and the new Doc’s Clock merely had a painted facade emulating the marquee’s look and feel. But the sign received a legacy business designation from City Hall in February, and crowdfunding and community donations of nearly $15,000 financed the marquee’s successful move and rebuild.
“We’re a legacy business, it’s part of our business and part of our heritage,” Suckow says. “It seemed impossible, but it happened.”
While it’s still the exact same sign, it is slightly altered to fit the dimensions of the new location.
“It’s the same sign,” according to Suckow. “We had to add a little bit on the sides and make the arrows a little bigger, but we kept the feel of the old sign. It was widened. Everything’s the same, it’s just a little longer so we do didn’t have to alter the neon.”
Nearly 200 revelers gathered at Doc’s Clock to celebrate the occasion. “We’re losing a lot of great neighborhood bars,” a Doc’s Clock employee shouted to the crowd, while standing on the bar. “We’re losing the 500 [Club], we’re losing the [Lucky] 13. What Carey has done, Carey has saved Doc’s Clock.”
“Now who wants some whiskey?,” he yelled. And you know what? A lot of people did.
Most of the Doc’s Clock fans who gathered to watch the lighting went inside for drinks afterward — except for owner Carey Suckow herself. “I can’t go inside,” she said, holding a toddler. “I can’t take my kid inside.”