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Mar 4, 2014 2 min read

Coming Soon (Natoma Cabana) and Closures (Esta Noche, Pop's)

Coming Soon (Natoma Cabana) and Closures (Esta Noche, Pop's)
John Colins, in the 90 Natoma days. Yelp photo by Jamie L.
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An upcoming project: Dennis Leary and Eric Passetti just aren’t busy enough with their new businesses, Trocadero Club and Cafe Terminus, because now they’re taking over the John Colins space in SoMa as well. License activity shows the name will be NATOMA CABANA. Scoop caught up with the gents, who said they have been working on the deal for a while. Eater adds that Leary wants to create an easygoing beer garden/outdoor party feeling (the space has a lot of skylights)—just unpretentious and fun. Stand by for more—it’s looking like summer for this one. 90 Natoma St. at 2nd St.

And now for some losses. After making it through a financial rough spot last year, it looks like ESTA NOCHE is sadly closing for good. Eater mentions the new owners are behind Wish in SoMa, and are currently figuring out what they are going to do with the space: “The new owners plan to take over the bar next week and run it as is for a few months, so fans of Esta Noche will have time to say goodbye. After that, they’ll close for a renovation and are targeting an opening date sometime in late summer or early fall.”

Yes, it saddens me when I hear that funky little places like Esta Noche are closing. Gay dive bars in SF are becoming such an endangered species, and this one, a gay Latino bar, is even more rare. But here’s the thing—when was the last time you had a drink there? Some of you may be die-hard regulars, but to be honest, the last time I was in there was about 10 years ago (although I do have some very funny and rather blurry memories of that place). I always love walking by it, I love the sassy Latino crowd milling around (and those who love them), the sign with the palm tree (which reminds you this bar is kind of a queer island in a sea of Mission hetero bars), the shows, and everything the place stands for—it’s also a very special kind of seedy. It’s sad that the current owners have to sell it, but if they aren’t making their numbers, well, that’s the tough part of business in this town (and in that part of town).

And so another funky part of our city’s landscape is being sanitized away, and new gays who come to the city won’t get to experience one of the icons of our city’s gay dive bars. Damn it. So if there’s a bar you like and don’t want it to ever go away, you should drink there. Often. 3079 16th St. at Valencia, 415-861-5757.

Another spot that just closed for renovations is POP’S, which we knew was gonna happen soon. Uptown Almanac reports about half the staff is going to stay on for the renovation. The new Pop’s will be under the ownership of Michael Krouse (Madrone Art Bar)—it should be opening in three months or so. 2800 24th St. at York.

The exterior of the beloved Esta Noche. Yelp photo by James Z.
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