Another One Gone: Hemlock Tavern Will Close in October

The same real estate company planning the demolition of its building has now bought the 17-year-old venue and plans to turn the site into condos.

Patrons sit at the bar at Hemlock Tavern on Polk Street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Hemlock Tavern, the popular bar and live music venue, has been sold and will be replaced by condos later this year, management announced Tuesday.

After its 17th anniversary party in early October, Hemlock will close its doors at 1131 Polk St. one final time. The same real estate developers that bought the building in 2015, Doleman Property Group, have bought up the bar and its liquor license with plans to demolish the site.

In its place, they will erect a 54-unit, mixed-use condo building — which might be more depressing than the transformation of The Gangway, S.F.’s oldest gay bar, into a kung-fu laundromat. The plans have been in the works since last November, although Hemlock’s lease ran through 2021 — that is, until it was sold.

“The Hemlock Tavern, in its current physical and metaphysical configurations, will cease to exist after the first week of October 2018,” management wrote on Facebook.

Lofty language aside, this might not be the end. In response to concern over the loss of a community staple, Supervisor Aaron Peskin pushed through an amendment to the planning code that allows businesses displaced by construction to return without losing their liquor licenses.

Now it’s up to the new owners whether to return, but they haven’t announced any plans for Hemlock, which typically attracted punks, artists, and service-industry workers increasingly hard to find in San Francisco.

“Running a live music venue was always a labor of love and we’re proud to have contributed to the cultural life of San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Hemlock management said. “It was a great run.”

It’s run of regular operations and live music will stand until the end of September before capping 17 years in the neighborhood on Oct. 6. 

Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk St., hemlocktavern.com

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