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Thieves Tavern & Blind Cat are Closing

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Photo of Thieves Tavern by Noelle Chun

Yet another major bummer of an announcement. On the heels of the closing of The Stud comes the shutting down of two more bars that I love.

I got my start bartending in the Thieves family of bars. I was part of the crew that opened up Dear Mom back in 2011 and it was a glorious moment in time. Remember Pickle Back Wednesdays? Back then all my friends still lived in San Francisco and it was just before the second tech boom hit. It’s wild to think how much this place has changed since then.

At that point there were five bars in the Thieves family (unless I’m missing one). There was Whiskey Thieves, Thieves Tavern, Dirty Thieves (which became Blind Cat after someone lost a bet), Dear Mom, and The Unresolved Love Life of Evelyn Lee (which had been called Mission Hill Saloon before the Thieves fam bought it and then called it again after they sold it). During the year and a half I worked for the Thieves crew I tended bar at Dear Mom, Evelyn Lee, and even a couple shifts at Thieves Tavern.

Yesterday Hoodline broke the news that Blind Cat and Thieves Tavern were closing, which means that none of those five bars exist any longer. What a sad day.

While I had some pretty great evenings at Blind Cat, Thieves Tavern was almost like a clubhouse for a whole segment of my SF family during the 2010s. It was a place where I first met a number of friends and lovers, where random reunions would occur, and where I’d go alone, knowing that I was bound to run into someone who I genuinely liked a lot. Fuck, I can literally think of dozens of friends who are indelibly linked to Thieves Tavern in the hallways of my mind. So many lovely, strange, and bleary nights began and ended at Thieves. What a fucking shame.

Anyways, as you can imagine, it’s the financial hardship caused by the COVID pandemic that killed the bars. How can places continue to pay rent and survive when they can’t bring in any revenue. I have the horrible feeling that we’re about to see a lot more of this.

Check out the Hoodline story right here if you want further information.

What a damn shame.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.