I've been hearing about the difficulties at the House of Shields for some time now. As reported in SFEater a couple of days ago: "The historic bar's lease runs out in June and word on the street is that at this point in time, the landlord has no intention of renewing it, meaning the current team is definitely out. This development, of course, leaves the bar's future very much in flux. "
The scuttle I've heard is that the owner isn't even sure if he wants to continue having a bar there and is tired of owning a dive that is swarmed by bike messengers. Personally, I'm not sure what the problem with bike messengers is, but this is what I've heard.
Now, I love a good dive. But right in the heart of downtown on New Montgomery St, in an historic space that has been wetting the whistles of San Franciscans since 1908 is not a good place for one. We need something attractive and respectable there that will bring people to downtown at night and extend the energy of our bar scene.
I'm not proposing that The House of Shields be converted into some posh club with bottle service and leather coucher or that it simply raises the price of its drinks to expel the riffraff. No, it's a great and classic pub, and downtown needs those. But maybe someone with good taste and a connection to the contemporary world of drinking could take it over. Where are the H's, the Carlos Yturrias/Dominic Venegases, the Greg Lindgrens and Brian Sheehy's of the city to come and turn this into a tastefully trendy ale-pouring, martini-slinging, profit center that we all want to go to when stuck on Market St?