The former Velvet Lounge reopened this past weekend (April 14) as ~443~. George Somers, who owns Bert & Ernie’s in Redding, partnered up with a friend from college, plus a helicopter pilot, a fireman, and a pal who owns an apartment complex. Sounds like the beginning to a good joke, huh?

It took about six months to spiff the place up. Some of you locals will remember this was the famed Mabuhay Gardens (AKA the Fab Mab) back in the day (I remember seeing one show there when I was in high school before it closed: Flipper). All the big punk bands played there, from Dead Kennedys to Iggy Pop to Black Flag. Supposedly the Kinks even played there too. Was happy to hear the new owners are keen to get some live music going there again, but there will also be dancing too. The vintage building has brick walls and the main room has 1,500 square feet of dance space, with a stage and two bars. There is also a 2,000-square-foot enclosed VIP area available for private parties, and will be left open as a lounge space if no one books the room. There are some huge doors that can open to the street—but this depends on whether they get clearance to get some day parties going. Time will tell!

443 Broadway
Cross: Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94133