Citing “extreme financial distress brought on by the current financial crisis and the City of New York’s decision not to renew [their] lease,” New York’s Tavern on the Green has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. No word on how the reorganization will affect plans to open a 43,000 square foot Tavern on the Green atop San Francisco’s Metreon. Tipsters?
New York’s Tavern on the Green Files for Bankruptcy [Bloomberg]
Metreon Makeover Approved, Entrance Rendered And Ready In 2010 [SocketSite]

29 thoughts on “Will Tavern On The Green’s Bankruptcy Kill An SF Outpost?”
  1. The Metreon is pretty dead except for the theatres. I don’t see how a very high priced restaurant there would have worked out anyway.

  2. The Metreon will be completely gutted and redone by the time Tavern was supposed to open. Don’t think of what’s there now, because that won’t be the case for much longer.

  3. They should bulldoze it and make Yerba Buena Garden bigger. It has failed at every turn. The latest incarnation (“farmer’s market”?) is sad, sad, sad. TOTG would have failed here too, but it now looks like it won’t have to.

  4. Can’t disagree with the comments so far. My wife and I grab a movie at the Metreon every so often, but beyond that I could not even name the other stores, etc. The only thing that seems to have any staying power is Jillian’s, which gets a fair amount of convention traffic. What can you say when even Starbucks does not want to stay in your building!
    That said, if you could get Slanted Door or some other traffic driving mid-to-high-end restaurant to take the TOTG space, I think you would have a winner. Good luck otherwise.

  5. Bulldoze it? You do realize the theater is one of the highest grossing (per screen and overall) theaters in the world, right? After the gutting, it just needs a reevaluation of tenant mix. It was never going to work with the stuff they tried before. BTW – the farmers market is just there until they line up all of the construction permits and so forth for the gutting.
    On “staying power” – four of the original five food court vendors are still there, in addition to Jillians.

  6. One thing that might help is re-doing the walkway between Market and Mission next to the Four Seasons. it is open visually to the metreon but the walkway is uninviting. Little greeenry, few stores, few folks walking it.
    IMO putting a visually interesting fountain halfway between the Market and Mission sides of the lane would make it much more inviting and interesting and stimulate foot traffic towards the Mission side and the Metreon.

  7. The walkway you speak of is a wind tunnel. If there was a way to minimize the gales that blow through there, it would be a lot more inviting.

  8. I am always looking for a good and safe place to play pool and Jillians would be it if it had not got the rep of being a hangout for the folks I don’t want to hang out with. A stabbing a while ago certainly put me off. Yup I am a woman of certain age, and although a mean pool player, I’m not that good in a fight.

  9. I have never understood the Metreon. I could see where a city that has a lifeless downtown in need of redevelopement would need such a place, but it is not needed, or a good fit, for San Francisco.

  10. I think that everyone agrees that the Metreon was misbegotten, and the current ownership plans to do something about it, so it’s a bit old news at this point. People make mistakes, and for about two seconds “urban entertainment” was the next big concept. The big problem is that Sony was so asleep at the switch it didn’t do something to remedy the mistake years ago. Now Westfield actually has a plan that will hopefully find some backing in this perilous economic time.
    If a redesign of the Metreon space allows a nice sense of entry to the top floor, then I think a destination restaurant could do very well there. It has great views over Yerba Buena towards MOMA and the PacBell building. I can see the outdoor space being incredibly popular. If not Tavern on the Green, something will emerge to take advantage of this space.

  11. Although the Tavern on the Green is an outdated tourist trap it’s still got a very charming and romantic setting in Central Park that can be reached by car or by horse drawn carriage. It’s a New York must see for the first time tourist just to say they’ve been there. But the interior is another story. It hasn’t been updated since the ’60s or ’70s…worm wood interior? Beyond tacky.
    Why would anyone think that they could copy a restaurant like TOTG in San Francisco, especially the Metreon? It’s not the restaurant for sure but the setting that makes it unique. Somehow it doesn’t make sense to copy it in San Francisco.
    A better choice would be to copy it in the New York – New York Hotel Casino in Vegas. It attracts people who have never been to New York, Paris, Venice, Monte Carlo or the Pyramids.
    San Francisco is as uniquely a one of a kind as Manhattan. Neither one’s uniqueness can be bottled and resold somewhere else. Unless TOTG was going to become a franchise or a chain, maybe that might be different but only in towns like Overland Park Kansas, not SF. Even there I doubt that it would succeed. A chain restaurant’s uniqueness is usually about a food trend in a creative setting. People go for the complete experience, including the food. That is not why people visit TOTG. The food is nondescript. It’s all about the setting. You can’t reproduce that setting unless it’s in a Hollywood back lot or Vegas.

  12. “The walkway you speak of is a wind tunnel. If there was a way to minimize the gales that blow through there, it would be a lot more inviting.”
    It was poorly thought out. The straight cut-through just magnifies the wind in the area. Like walking up part of 3rd St. especially in the afternoons. A constant “gale”.
    Like those who designed this did not know that?!
    Better a circuitous path – arching way to the right and then to the left w/ large mature trees, sculture and a fountain. It would have given a more intimate feel and encouraged use of this pathway. It would have helped the planned retail which really never took off on the block.
    Frankly, the windswept and fountainless plaza below the 4 Seasons would have kept me from ever purchasing a condo there – if I could have afforded one. It just seems to me that a building with multiple million priced condos should have a “million dollar” feel at ground level. Maybe that’s just me.

  13. Is this what the state of San Francisco’s built environment has come to in this dimly-lit economy — a discussion of who-cares Tavern what? Isn’t that like profiling eateries @ Pier 39? Anyway, New York’s eating doesn’t work here (eg where to get a pastrami sandwich) but who knows – maybe there’s a bar mitzvah contingent which needs such venues and — with the Journal and Times starting Bay Area editions maybe I’m simply out of touch with what works here.

  14. “Two words: Home Depot.”
    One Word: Target
    Although the Metreon seems to be more utilized by those who live outside the city than those who actually live here. A Target may continue that trend although I know I’d definitely go there.

  15. LOVE the Home Depot and Target suggestions. TOTG? No thank you. Downtown could definitely use a dept. store like Target. Isn’t there one in Manhattan? And a KMart, too?

  16. Isn’t there one in Manhattan? And a KMart, too?
    Yep, there’s a K-Mart in the middle of Midtown, under Penn Station. I walked past it over the long weekend.

  17. I like the Target idea better for the block between 5th and 6th that has been “targetted” for big box. I don’t know what’s happening with that proposal currently, but I assume (along with everything else) it’s pretty much on hold.
    Target at the Metreon? Not so much. Yes a downtown urban location would be a great boon, and SF would “leak” less sales tax to Serramonte. However, at the Metreon it would not take real advantage of the site, which includes all the conventioneers as well as the views across Yerba Buena. Big box retailers don’t exactly care about views….
    And Home Depot? uh, no. (I know it was probably offered in jest). Goodmans site would be perfect (hopefully Lowes will actually go through). NYC has a “downtown” Home Depot in Chelsea, but I think that’s pretty much a special case in a city where car ownership is exceedingly low. Metreon could not, and should not, accommodate the kind of vehicular access that would be required to support a Home Depot. And remember, it is built directly on top of Moscone, so there is no way to accommodate delivery and pickup in a below grade parking structure.

  18. Target and these other national retailers probably look at SF and say “forget it” when they look at the approval process followed by paid sick leave and $1.85/hr. to pay the city for mandated health care benefits.
    Also, on the wind tunnel theme, sounds similar to Candlestick Park issues.

  19. I don’t understand why the Tavern on the Green would be filing for bankruptcy. It has been one of the top if not the top grossing restaurants in the country for years.

  20. I think they lost their lease, and they owe about $50M … so I guess the owners just threw in the towel and let the creditors fight it out.

  21. Khaki – the old Mervyn’s on Masonic is being replaced by a monster TJ Maxx/Homegoods combo store, which will take up the space that the old Mervyn’s used along with the space that the old Good Guys used. Acres and acres of crap.

  22. For the Metreon: Condos. High ceilings, lots of glass. 🙂
    The concession stands at the Metreon Theatres are horribly run. If they were run better they’d make more money. But I do enjoy the IMAX theater.

  23. “Khaki – the old Mervyn’s on Masonic is being replaced by a monster TJ Maxx/Homegoods combo store, which will take up the space that the old Mervyn’s used along with the space that the old Good Guys used. Acres and acres of crap.”
    Ugh. Say no to this sad endless SUV-dependent, big box site; instead redev as mixed-use high density (read: tall — those bus yards across street too while we’re at it) — both sites have finest city views – best pub transit around. (Although risk your life if you are a lowly pedestrian in this bizarre & dangerous intersection).
    Give developers incentives to and use funds to underground MUNI. Imagine that — a public /private partnership and we all win.

  24. Tavern was going to be designed by a well known mid size architecture firm here in SF. I can assure you it will definitely NOT look like the Tavern in NYC because the owner of this firm will absolutely not take that job if all Tavern wanted to do is copy the space in NYC. They do a very clean modern design. However, last I heard was that job was on hold. Now since Tavern had filed for chap 11, I guess it’ll be on hold indefinitely.
    What they need to do with Metreon is actually move the escalator location to the entrance (Mission and 4)to give better flow to the traffic to go up. A good example would be the new Westfield Shopping Center here in SF. Right off the entrance, you have escalator taking you upstairs. That will help the traffic on the upper floors. Also the main entrance should minimally be 2 story high. Right now it’s low and oppressive. Absolutely terrible and dark. Instead of having all the store fronts face inside, they should open up all the windows that faces 4th as well as Mission. They probably should move the food court to the second floor. It’s really more like a destination space. First floor should be maybe gadget stores. There are lots of businessmen around that area. I think it has a great potential attracting businessmen during lunch time to browse.

  25. Hmmm…let’s see. We have a large modern art collection that needs a home other than the Presidio. We have a large, virtually empty building near SFMOMA. Perhaps they could go together, like t-shirts and jeans.

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