We caught wind of this yesterday via a liquor license, and Grub Street learns more details today about a large new bar/restaurant/club on the way to central SoMa, at 280 7th Street, from the owner of The Café in the Castro. Owner Tom Hutachinda purchased the former Rawhide (later Club Hide) — a large, multi-level nightclub— almost three years ago, and plans to reopen it with some changes with the help of one of his longtime managers at The Café, Louis Caputo. It’s remained dark since the purchase due to some issues with the City, and some significant mold remediation and other reconstructive work. Now Grub Street learns that Hutachinda is planning a 150+ seat restaurant, including a 49-seat rooftop patio, as well as a downstairs bar/entertainment area for the space.
Reps for the project appeared before the Entertainment Commission on October 11th to discuss their plans, which include the possibility of opening part of the space while some of it undergoes renovation. Meanwhile, they have some more community outreach to do given that this place is been dark and quiet for so long, and it stands to be a significant crowd draw — though they’re trying to bill it now as more of a daytime venue, with a great view of the City Hall dome from the roof at brunch. It’s unclear if, like The Café, this would primarily be a gay venue. (It bears noting that Rawhide was, for many years, a gay country-and-western-themed bar.)
There’s just one bureaucratic hitch, which is that new entertainment is not permitted under current planning codes in the neighborhood. As one of the project sponsors, Mark Rennie, says, the space has been an entertainment venue going back at least thirty years, and this project would mark the only significant rebuild of such a venue in his four decades in town. They’re still arguing to try to maintain their existing zoning as an entertainment venue, so that Planning doesn’t consider it an abandoned use. Got all that?
The project, which remains unnamed, is still six months to a year off, with a significant rebuild that may occur either while part of the venue reopens, or before any of it opens. Also, they’ve got a lot of City hoops to jump through. Stay tuned.