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Ginsberg’s bar at Fisherman’s Wharf demolished for new hotel

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Removal of long vacant Beat bar planned since 2013

A rendering of a four-story hotel with roof deck.
The original proposed design for the new 13-room hotel.
Courtesy SF Planning

It’s been almost four years since developers proposed removing the vacant building on the 400 block of Bay Street that was once Ginsberg’s Dublin Pub in favor of a new hotel, and it looks as if the circa 1906 building has finally gone the way of most 1906 buildings.

A local posted a photo to the North Beach News Facebook page over the weekend showing the building at the corner of Bay and Mason in ruins, with construction equipment parked right in the middle of it.

“Bye bye, Ginsberg’s,” wrote Gary Oliver. “They did have an excellent beer selection, [...] but I think it was vacant for about 25 years.”

It was closer to 21 years, according to the 2015 obituary of Ginsberg’s co-owner Leonard Brandon Iffla, as Iffla and partner Vic Roth apparently retired and closed in 1996. But workers at nearby businesses tell Curbed SF that it was still active up until a few years ago, and there seems to be some confusion on the point.

In any case, the Ginsberg’s sign, which advertised more than 60 kinds of imported beer, has been a neighborhood mainstay decade after decade, judging from old photos on a tribute blog operated by an old friend of the neighborhood bar.

The demolish job is not exactly a surprise—the Planning Department conducted its initial review of the hotel proposal in June of 2013.

The building in February, signage still stubbornly in place.

Russ Naylor, who was the initial project sponsor on the entitlements, tells Curbed SF that the vacant building had “been a neighborhood nuisance for some time.”

According to the paperwork, the incoming building will be:

A new, 13-room tourist Hotel (Rainflower Hotel) in a 4-story-over-basement, 40-foot tall, approximately 15,000 gsf building. [...] An approximately 2,000 gsf deck would also be provided on the roof.

The city issued permits in December.