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Feb 23, 2021 2 min read

Terrible Fire at PCH, Virgil's Closes, But El Rio Returns, and The Pilsner, Too!

Terrible Fire at PCH, Virgil's Closes, But El Rio Returns, and The Pilsner, Too!
A selection of cocktails at P.C.H. Photo via Facebook.
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We had quite a bit of news swirl around in the bar world this past week, some good, and some terrible, like the fire that struck PCH very early Monday morning (three businesses on the 500 block of Sutter were damaged in the electrical fire). Fortunately, no one was harmed, but owner Kevin Dietrich was confronted with a basement full of water, extensive fire damage, and destroyed inventory—just when he was getting everything ramped back up with outdoor service. As if this year wasn’t awful enough for every single bar in this town. I’m happy to see the GoFundMe for the bar performing well, let’s get the Pacific Cocktail Haven team back on their feet. You can read more in this Eater recap. 580 Sutter St. at Mason.

More sad news: the delightful VIRGIL’S SEA ROOM has decided to throw in the bar towel. In their Instagram post, they share: “After a year of constant loss, not enough help from the feds, and a mental fatigue that can’t quite be described… Virgil’s has made the tough decision to close.” This was a favorite bar of many, with affordable cocktails, a fun mixed crowd (love that), and that patio! Seven years of providing a safe space. With love from your many fans, you will be sorely missed. 3152 Mission St. at Powers.

Now is the moment when I share some great news about their neighbor: after being closed for the duration of the pandemic, EL RIO has reopened for to-go cocktails on the weekend (!), along with some tamales and other bites. Menu here. Please support this beloved SF bar with your business (and grab some swag!)—as we have learned, it’s sadly up to us to save our bars since our federal and state and city government haven’t and won’t do enough. SAVE SF BARS! Open Fri 4pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 2pm-6pm; they plan to open the patio soon. Read more on SFist. 3158 Mission St. at Powers.

And to end things on another high note, the PILSNER INN has reopened in the Castro, with new floors, refinished tables and benches, and a patio designed for safe distancing (they’ll also be adding a Shared Space out front soon). They have partnered with neighbors Red Jade and Il Casaro for the required food service. Come by and welcome them back—it has almost been a year. Open daily 12pm-10pm. [Via Hoodline.] 225 Church St. at Market.

El Rio’s patio on Salsa Sundays. OH HOW WE MISS YOU! Photo via El Rio’s Facebook page.
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