Neighbors on and around Polk Street are getting fed up with drunken revelers caterwauling into the night and urinating on their front steps, but is this just the trade-off they have to cope with now that the neighborhood has gentrified into one of the city’s prime party corridors? That’s the question asked by the Chron in a piece discussing the latest push by some residents both to cap new liquor licenses and do whatever else they can to stem the tide of vomit they now face every weekend night. The complaints, of course, are not new, but they insult bar owners like Duncan Ley, a partner in two of the first bars that were part of the lastest wave to this area: Bullitt and Tonic. He argues that everyone is quick to forget how seedy Polk Street was for decades until he and others started moving in around 2006. “The neighborhood cleanup came on the backs of those bars and restaurants,” he says.
But in becoming a destination for everyone in the 21 to 35 age bracket, neighbors are rightly nervous about becoming Broadway in North Beach every Saturday night, or, god forbid, the Marina on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. (For a recent cautionary example, see this video of a 100-person brawl that broke out in a parking lot in North Beach just a week ago.) We would argue that this is just the price one pays for living in a city, but then again we aren’t paying crazy market-rate rents to live above the Hemlock Tavern.
Noted activist and Entertainment Commissioner Glendon Hyde (a.k.a. Anna Conda) lamented four years ago upon the closing of her popular Friday club Charlie Horse at The Cinch (1723 Polk Street, which bills itself as “The Last Standing Gay Bar on Polk Street”), that it was the fault of noise complaints coming from new nearby condo owners.
And we’d mention the Mission here, too, although the nightlife scene there has tended to be a bit more adult, maybe partly as a result of the two-decade-old moratorium on liquor licenses there — although incidents like the murder that happened outside Double Dutch last year, or the death by brawl of line cook Caesar Chuc, barely a block away, in October, suggest that the Mission can still get rough too.
So who do you think has it worse, dear readers, in terms of drunken messiness on their doorsteps? The Marina, Polk Street, or North Beach? (Feel free to put Dolores Park perimeter dwellers as a write-in, however they live on Dolores Park so they should just shut up.)