Polk Street watering hole and intimate live music venue Hemlock Tavern will close in less than two months after a 17-year run, culminating with one final anniversary party on October 6.

According to an interview with KQED, managing partner Don Alan decided to sell his business and its liquor license to Dolmen Property Group, the developer that bought the Hemlock property back in 2015. The Hemlock will continue to operate through the first week of October. More details about the final party will be shared soon.

HEMLOCK SOLD, WILL TRANSFER OWNERSHIP IN EARLY OCTOBER, BUILDING TO BE DEMOLISHED AND REPLACED BY CONDOS. The Hemlock Tavern and its liquor license have recently been sold to the same real estate developers that purchased our property back in 2015. The new owners of the Hemlock Tavern will be moving forward with their plans to demolish the building (1145 Polk St., which includes Hemlock at 1131 Polk St.) and construct a 54-unit mixed-use condominium building in its place. The Hemlock Tavern, in its current physical and metaphysical configurations, will cease to exist after the first week of October 2018. We will be operating as usual and featuring a full schedule of live music from now through Sept. 30th, 2018. The new owners of the Hemlock Tavern have not yet announced their plans for what will become of the business following the construction of the new building. We would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of our patrons, supporters, and the approximately 15,000 local/national/international bands and music acts that performed over 5,000 shows in our back room since October 2001. 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. It was a great run.

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Hemlock Tavern, known for its indie rock and punk concerts, currently has a lease that runs until 2022. However, after a recent decline in business and securing buyouts from all the other building tenants, Alan chose to sell the business and license. The recent decline in business and ticket sales at Hemlock’s Tavern could be attributed to the current shift in San Francisco demographics. The “blue collar” crowds that used to fill Hemlock on weeknights have moved to the East Bay.

Dolmen Property Group now owns the entire city block bound by Hemlock, Polk, and Sutter streets. According to planning documents, the developer intends to build a brand new, 54-unit mixed-used building (residential and commercial) with a rooftop terrace. Dolem has plans to reopen Hemlock Tavern in the new building. The new project would provide much-needed housing while maintaining an entertainment space. A new version of the Hemlock Tavern won’t be affiliated with the current management.

Hemlock Tavern
Sunday, October 6, 2018
1131 Polk Street