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Hemlock Tavern to be demolished to make way for condos

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Beloved venue and watering hole “in its current physical and metaphysical configurations, will cease to exist”

Hemlock Tavern on Polk Street.
Hemlock Tavern on Polk Street.
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What’s to say about Polk Street, the onetime seedy salvation of San Francisco? Well, for starters, it’s pretty pricey now. It’s also where a lot of new housing development has sprouted up. And a new crop of condos will soon rise in the space of a boozy favorite: 17-year-old watering hole/concert venue Hemlock Tavern will close its doors October 9. The property will reportedly be demolished by Dolmen Property Group to make room for a 54-unit mixed-use condominium building.

The bar, noted for its smoking patio, backroom stage, and floor strewn with peanut shells, was a favorite among whippersnappers and musicians alike. Often one might find major names (e.g., Courtney Love) hanging out on the aforementioned patio after shows at the Fillmore.

Hemlock Tavern made the announcement via Facebook.


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. We will close for good following our 17th anniversary party on Saturday, October 6th.

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 a few years down the road.

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.

As to whether or not Hemlock Tavern could return in its original form, that’s not likely.

End Time

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“As of March, area supervisor Aaron Peskin sought to add a planning code amendment that would make it possible for liquor store and bars displaced by building demolition to return after construction, a move tailored to help Hemlock,” reports Eater SF. “That won’t bring it back to life, now that it’s sold, but with a liquor license and retail space to fill in the mixed use building, it’s possible a bar will return to the space. But with residential above, a music venue is less likely to resurface.”