The Old Ship Saloon Gets New Owners and Will Keep on Sailing

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The iconic Old Ship Saloon sign. Yelp photo by Rachel H.

We keep hearing so many stories of our treasured old-school SF dives being bought, sold, gutted, razed, made over, and basically having any scrap of their former soul sucked out of them. But fortunately, SF’s oldest bar, the ~OLD SHIP SALOON~, which is being sold by longtime owner Bill Duffy, will end up in good hands.

When I saw the ABC license transfer hit the wires with Eric Passetti’s name on it, I was like, huh, this is interesting. (Passetti is a partner with Dennis Leary in local businesses like Natoma Cabana, Terminus, Rx.) I received a call back from Erik Hopfinger, who is the consulting chef for the new iteration of the Old Ship and will potentially be joining partners Marc Bruschera and Tod Alsman (R Bar, Wreck Room). (You can read more on how Duffy decided to pass the torch here.)

He mentioned that once the transfer goes through in 30-45 days, they will be closing for a deep clean and to reconfigure the bar, but it’s more like “putting new rims” on a car, Hopfinger stated. They also plan to add some outside tables and take advantage of the sunlight they get down there.

As for the menu, it’s going to maintain a tavern feeling, with a burger, of course, and salads and some healthy eats as well. Hopfinger said he’d like to offer a staff meal for people in the industry (shot, beer, late-night dinner), and they really want to be a local staff bar for folks who work nearby, serving until 1am. Local workers in the area will be able to pick up a brown bag lunch, with a sandwich, soup, and cookie combo, or stick around for a fast-casual lunch. Hopfinger is also researching old-school cookbooks so they can pay homage to the bar’s history, which dates back to 1851. He said to expect some pickled items on the menu. We can also get excited to try some of Alsman’s charcuterie and bacon; it ends up he is quite the aficionado.

Stand by for future updates in about a month or so. I’ll be able to share more about the bar program then as well. 298 Pacific Ave. at Battery, 415-788-2222.