100 Year Old Tosca Cafe is Closing Down

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Photo from Eater

Back in the day Tosca was part of what I called “The Holy Trinity of San Francisco Bars”. Along with Specs‘ and Vesuvio, Tosca represented the funky old North Beach bohemian scene that was part of what made San Francisco special. Then in 2012 it was announced that, due to financial difficulties, the bar would be closing.

As you could imagine, there was all kinds of freaking out. Tosca had been an artist’s haven for decades; it was where Sean Penn, Robin Williams, and Jack Nicholson all famously hung out, and as recently as 2010, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder had book release/reading there.

Out of all the hubbub, Tosca was eventually saved. Apparently Sean Penn made some phone calls and some hella successful restaurateurs from New York, April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, bought the place from longtime proprietor Jeanette Etheredge, and turned it into a fancy restaurant. While those of us who love dive bars were bummed that it would no longer be our kinda of hangout, we were still glad that such a special place would be saved.

Back when Tosca was a classy/divey bar, before the renovation (photo: ynotjetlag /

And it seemed it was, until last Saturday night when diners were informed that Tosca was closing. According to Caleb Pershan at Eater, “financial difficulties appear to be at the heart of the matter.” It’s no secret that running a restaurant in San Francisco is getting more and more difficult every year. The bar part of the Tosca will remain open awhile longer and continue to serve their famous House Cappuccinos.

As for the future of Tosca – the bar, the restaurant, the 100 year old legend – Chef April Bloomfield informed Eater earlier today that she’s in the process of selling it to new management, but that she’s not at liberty to discuss more right now. I really hope this works out, as it would be an awful shame to lose such a wonderful part of San Francisco forever.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

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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.