The now vacant Pacific Heights Victorian building on the southeast corner of Divisadero and Sacramento, the bottom floor of which had operated as the iconic Lion Pub for the past five decades, has just sold for $3.5 $3.4 million having been listed for $4.5 million at the end of last year.

There’s no official word on what’s planned for the space, but it’s safe to assume to the two full-floor flats over the bar will be remodeled.

And as noted when listed, “a new owner could have the option to continue to operate this space as a bar or potentially convert it into a variety of other possibilities.” But the property sale didn’t include the shuttered pub’s liquor license.

UPDATE: While originally reported as a $3.5 million sale, the final contract price was actually $3.4 million.

47 thoughts on “Iconic Lion Pub Building Has Sold for $3.4 Million”
  1. Such memories! I (vaguely) recall a Long Island Ice Tea special night – served in pint glasses; had two at the end of a food-free day and redecorated the mens bathroom.

    The Pacific heights “A-Gays” with their cashmere sweaters folded just so over their back, martini in one hand, cigarette in other, offering come-hither glances to younger twinks, not all of whom were giving it away. Happy days…

      1. I was a bit older (27!), and alas had to pay for drinks. But yes, it was on the circuit when one did the A gay loop to lower pacific heights. God that’s ancient history.

  2. Never been to the pub, but it looks (and sounded) cool. Anybody know if there’s enough space to drop in a small brewery system?

    1. Not worth the bother. Even the smallest brewery requires significant investment in time. And in today’s environment of multiple excellent keg-only craft breweries (Fieldwork, Cellermaker, Altamont, etc.) there’s plenty of excellent product to serve without the mess, hassle, and risk of making it yourself.

      1. @MoD, I’ll have to disagree. There’s a number of folks who feel its worth the bother still here in the city. They’re just looking for a great place to start a business. I’m thinking 7-10 BBL could be appropriate for this space.

        1. Well I guess its two people, two opinions then. This space seems more suited to serving customers than manufacturing.

          I’ve never visited a craft brewery with capacity above 5 barrels that was not in a space with high ceilings and concrete floors. This space has low ceilings and I’m guessing wooden floors. Not so great for the inevitable spills. I’d feel cramped operating my tiny half barrel system in this space, let alone something ten times larger.

          Also keep in mind you need storage for the finished product. Craft breweries will want to have at least four beers available at any given time and more likely twice that. So for a 7 barrel system you’ll need to store at least the equivalent 56 half barrel kegs. Either that or serve directly from the bright tanks which consume about the same space.

          All that space eats away from what’s available to your paying customers.

  3. So sad to see it go without the liquor license. I always thought of it as the only civilized gay bar in town. Things change. Sigh 🙁

  4. The Alta Plaza for cocktails, then dinner on Fillmore someweher, and an after dinner aperitif at the Lion’s Pub and in bed by eleven for the channel 5 news with Dave McElhatton — et voila, a work night Wednesday evening on the town was had.

  5. The high price for liquor licenses is why we can’t have $5 margaritas and have $15 mules instead. How long will it take to pay off $200K license with $3 beers?

  6. Nice deal for the buyer. So much potential and value with the two upstairs units (the retail/bar space is almost a bonus!)

  7. Ah yes, fomd memories of this place. The trio of the Alta Plaza, JJ’s and the Lions Pub made for a great night out. And yes, the margaritas and Long Island specials proved too tempting too many times. All three were special places that I’m sad to see gone.

  8. Mike: JJ’s – if I recall correctly – was a piano bar about a block down from the Alta Plastic.

      1. Also *maybe* Blush (wine bar on Castro), or what’s-its-name, the place on the 2nd floor of a restaurant, just east of Midnight Sun… But no, neither compare to an actually busy bar full of Ralph Lauren wanna-be’s.

        1. Eureka. Yes…good place to get a mixed drink. And you’re right…the thing about Alta Plaza, Lion, JJ’s triangle was that it was all about “wanna-be’s” impersonating (or hoping to land an) A-gay. As was cuttingly said at the time “oh, she’s just a ribbon clerk at Macy’s”

    1. doesn’t really exist anymore. In dressed down SF, there isn’t that same desire for gays to dress up and go out and be swellegant. The very concept of “A-gays” seems so quaint. Although of course it’s not like class stopped existing – and with the explosion of wealth actual divisions are larger than ever.

      1. I think it’s not so much the explosion of wealth as the expansion of rights… people of that set now just go to Local Edition or Bourbon & Branch like every other hipster / neo-yuppies … or even the ambiguously gay Blackbird, on Market … either way, they don’t feel the need to go to a gay-specific bar.

        (I think another facet of mainstreaming has also taken a toll – there are a lot of people going to, say, HiTops who might have gone to Lion Pub two decades earlier.)

        1. Despite the “expansion of rights”, I have always been curious why San Francisco has seen so many gay oriented establishments like this one close while Los Angeles has seen so many more open? The same rights exist down in L.A., yet they seem to have a new bar or club opening up every week.

          1. Dunno – I can’t speak to L.A., I’m not familiar with its scene. I do know that the same bar closures have happened in Boston – so many good places are now closed. I hardly even know what “the kids” do these days…

  9. Used to love going there for Greyhounds. A good first date always involved dinner at Solstice (now closed) followed by drinks at Lion Pub. The music was a little too loud the last couple time I went, but maybe I’m just getting old.

  10. More great memories here. What was wonderful is that they remodeled the space periodically to keep it fresh.

  11. 7×7: just my 2c and I don’t get out so much these days but I don’t think that place exists in the City right now. You’d probably have to go all the way to NYC’s TownHouse bar (still have a published dress code!) to see DNA of the Lion, so to speak…

    All kinds of factors at play and outside the scope of a Real Estate blog I’m afraid.

  12. While I never knew it as a bar, I travel down Sacramento st often and this building is a definite highlight.

  13. Leaving my 25th floor architecture job in the very early “90’s and meeting my boyfriend at Ginger Tois, having a drink and then walking to the Giraffe on Polk. Having a couple drinks and then walking to Fillmore for JJ’s or Alta Plaza, having a few drinks and walking to the Lion Pub; having a few drinks and cab’ing to our home in the Upper Haight.

  14. If it reopens as a place of entertainment it will be another faux-gastronomic “New American Eatery” looking for a Michelin star in their 2nd year while stretching the northern border of “NoPa”. People who buy $3.5M homes don’t want to live above a bar.

    1. No need to stretch the northern border of NoPa, much easier to claim to be Pacific Heights as this is in “Lower Pacific Heights” already. I’m two blocks SE of Geary & Divis and recently saw a listing claiming the area as “where Lower Pacific Heights, NoPa, and Hayes Valley meet”). That has to be the most tortured way of not saying Western Addition I’ve ever seen.

  15. Ahh yes – The Lions Pub. Memories. Where is an honest homo to go now to get some happy hour food and a manhattan without being run over by self-involved hipsters…? ….. Cry me a river…..

  16. I wonder if the modern building to the south would be approved today with no setback from Divisadero.

  17. It’s a part of LGBT’s past in San Francisco…part of our cultural history. How nice is it to hear a few people’s fond recollections? A lot of the generation that knew that establishment are no longer with us. Cheers to memories!

    1. Yes, was interesting to hear about this place’s history. Moved to SF in 93 but never ventured this far north as I was down in the lower haight, so it was much easier to walk down to the Castro and stagger home from there.

  18. Would the building to the south be approved today? Yes. This is a city. Buildings in a city (other than in R-1 districts) go to the sidewalk. This is a key element of the City’s master plan.

  19. no it wouldnt. it doesnt satisfy the 15% that is required in all rh districts, or averaging of the neighbors. oh and theres no such thing as an r-1 district, see name link.

  20. What a great purchase. Congrats to the smart buyer. Some really good deals on mixed use buildings if you look hard enough.

  21. Jesus, pretty soon there won’t be any bars in the neighborhood except on Fillmore! Doesn’t anybody want a quiet local that is free of pickup artists, screaming drunk bachelorettes, people doing business deals, or tourists?

  22. Went there before I turned 21! THE place to take a real date. I sat in front of the fire with “the one,” holding hands. Best tasting G&T’s in SF — not too strong. Miss “the one” too. . . .

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