After a six-year vacancy, a prime Pier 50 site is set to open its door again tomorrow, this time as a mostly-casual bar and grill called ATwater TAvern.
If you reach back into your memory, you may recall that this spot just south of AT&T Park and Mission Creek was most recently a dance club called Jelly’s, which the Port threw out on its ear after a fatal shooting in 2010 (the second in three years).
After that, the storied waterfront site remained unattended for years as the Port lobbied bids, eventually awarding the lease to restaurateur John Caine (of the Hi Dive, another waterfront bar) in 2014. Caine spent two more years getting the permits and work done, with a goal of finishing in time for Giants’ opening day this year, which as you can see they fell just short of.
Tough break, but the lucrative lease right next to Mission Rock and between the ballpark and the (likely) future home of the Warriors will presumably console everyone.
The space is the work of local developers Premier Structures, who themselves work out of Pier 28. It’s over 10,000 square feet, more than two thirds outside, and the newly installed deck has a view of almost the entire inner bowl of AT&T.
The weird history of the building (and Mission Rock in general) posed something of a detective’s puzzle for Premier principal Paul Osmundson. "We assumed that the building had always existed," Osmundson said. "But when we looked at some historic photographs it wasn’t there."
Actually, it was, you just wouldn't recognize it. The building now at 295 Terry Francois Boulevard is actually the remains of a much larger warehouse circa 1923, which the Port cut in two to run railroad tracks through, creating this small remainder building off to one side. Later they plunked a second story on top of it and leased it as a restaurant.
Other than the deck, which Osmundson estimates was responsible for most of the waiting time for permits but was simply too good of an opportunity not to build, Premier tried to keep the building as close to its industrial waterfront roots as possible, cement pillars, exposed beams and all.
Contractors suggested sandblasting away the weathered remains of a ceiling paint job at one point, but Premier said no. Why do all that work when it's better as-is?
ATwater TAvern (the weird spelling is an obscure joke about old phone book listings) opens to the public tomorrow.