Daly's Buck Tavern, a progressive hangout, is closing

Chris Daly's new political job took him away from the bar, where he held court his first year out of office.
Steven T. Jones

When leftist firebrand Chris Daly left the Board of Supervisors two years ago, amid political treachery that effectively ended a decade of progressive control over the body, the bar that he took over and operated – the Buck Tavern – became a gathering place for progressive activists. It was almost like a government in exile following a coup d'etat.

That changed a bit over the last year as Daly became the full-time political director of SEIU Local 1021 and dropped his regular bartending gigs, although the Buck still showcased community events. But as their lease was set to expire on Oct. 31, Daly and co-owner Ted Strawser were unable to negotiate a new one on terms they could afford, to find a new space, or to find a buyer that would keep the Buck running.

So the Buck Tavern, under the helm of a politico that the SF Weekly once-dubbed Captain Outrageous – in an article recognizing his role in getting a better deal for the city hosting the America's Cup (and, of course, denying ours) – is set to sink at the witching hour on Halloween. That's right, the Buck is going under.

“We've been able to do some really cool things with the space in terms of housing a community of people,” Daly told us. “We had a good run.”

That community is invited for a last hurrah at the Buck on Oct. 31, with nautical-themed costumes requested. So, ye scurvy dogs, come grab some grog and toast the motley crew that proudly sailed these stormy seas before they descend to Davy Jones locker. Arghhh!


First Julian Davis and now this.

To add insult to injury, a tech startup named Square just signed a lease to house 1,000 jobs in mid market, near Twitter. What could be worse than another 1,000 well paying jobs being located in what was a blighted part of the city?

Like I said, bad days for Progressives.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:01 am

Yep. Still works great!

Tech "startup" Square is relocating from 5th and Market where they are claimed by at least one sfgate business blogger to house 400 employees. Relocating to four floors of the huge 1455 Market Bank of America facility will bring their *total* to 1000... by the end of 2013... supposedly... might be have sumptin' to do with an IPO... who knows.

In any case, we've already *seen* this movie. Willie Brown was mayor. Remember?

Posted by lillipubicans on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:27 am

No, lilli, don't get worked up about this. Of course, jobs are *BAD* things. Every one of them. Doesn't matter if it is 600 or 800 or 1,000 or whatever. Every job that moves or stays in San Francisco is a *BAD* thing, especially if it pays a good salary. Any time that a growing company commits to San Francisco is a day that causes sadness for all of us, not just you.

Now go lie still for awhile and then go take your afternoon meds.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:54 am

no surprise! -- and at least admit that you had been "honestly mistaken," you instead trotted-out this tired strawman of yours that progressives hate jobs.

Your opinions and your rhetoric are without merit. Anyone with the slightest sense has learned to question the job figures being claimed by these press releases.

That is completely aside from the question as to whether the technology is likely to present a long-term benefit in terms of employment or the city's economy.

At lease Square has an acutally usable product. Will they still be making it -- or shall I speculate "importing them from China?" -- in three years?

The last dot-com boom hastened the departure of some of the few remaining long-term manufacturing jobs that had traditionally made up a large part of the city's workforce. Your facile cheerleading and your pious objection to being questioned on it is quite frankly tiresome.

Posted by lillipubicans on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

lilli, you're getting all worked up about nothing. Just calm down. Nobody is saying that they want any jobs created, or even retained, in the city. Nobody is saying that jobs related to mobile technology and commerce have any sort of realistic potential.

Everybody agrees with you that mid Market is a perfect place to put a factory, and that the current denizens of mid market do not put any kind of burden on our police, sanitation or health resources, nor do they diminish the effectiveness of Muni in any way.

So just calm down again.

Did somebody forget to take their meds?

Posted by Troll on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

However since we've been moving in a post-industrial direction for over 40 years now his comments show exactly where his mindset is stuck. Even Obama says most of those jobs are never coming back. You can look back in the past silly lilly - but try not and stare.

This is a painful process for most urban areas but sitting and demanding we invent a time machine to make the process of change easier is not the answer. Detroit has been doing that for decades - look how far that got them.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

Do not be so sure. As the US descends from its temporary perch as unipolar superpower and other developing nations are not so consumed with economic sharia guiding their development, the US comparative advantage will diminish and the relative wages will descend down to a more competitive level. That will make US manufacturing exports more attractive and manufacturing capital will follow.

That decrease in wages is not optional, the decrease in wages caused by rigid adherence to libertarian capitalist economic sharia at home is purely discretionary even though neither party offers any option to act on that discretion.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

What could be worse? How about the fact that Square won't be paying any business taxes for those 600 new employees, despite their use of city services, gentrifying impacts on rents in the area, added traffic congestion, and other impacts. There's a reason businesses pay taxes, because you can't get something for nothing.

Posted by steven on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:46 am

You can get something for nothing if business is relieved of the burdens of paying its freight and that burden is shifted onto the backs of residents.

Such is the case with the affordable housing charter amendment where developers are relieved of 1/4 of their inclusionary burden which is to be made up from the general fund and which will probably reduce the production of affordable while preserving the jobs of the nonprofiteers.

The Guardian supports that proposition, no?

Anyway, Steven, did you ever look into the ways that progressives get plum city jobs without greasing the skids politically? Or is it misogynist to even pose that question?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

Amazing that the Progressives still feel this sense of divine entitlement, that companies should locate in the city and pay much more than they could in an industrial park in San Bruno.

Here are some more examples of Progressive foolishness:

1) The city will end in 6 years, which is when the tax break ends. Long term planning? That's not our thing.

2) Lets just forget about the real estate taxes that Square will be justifying and indirectly paying. It's only money. Progressives only care about spending and taxing money, not in bringing more in.

3) Progressive logic: The employees will be driving up rents in the area AND contributing to traffic congestion. Yes, you can have it both ways.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

San Francisco is a desirable place to live and to work.

For folks who want to live here, you're on your own.

For those who want to do business here, there is no length that we will go to fleece those who live here in order to make it easy for you to do business here, no strings attached!

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

It's just not the middle class they're aimed towards. Come here poor and homeless and you've got a plethora of agencies who will bend over backward to make your stay as pleasant as possible. And if you decide you want to leave we'll pay for your bus ticket to wherever you came from!

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

What percentage of the indigent actually collect services?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

...to have a well-funded city that can run its buses on time, maintain its parks, and provide other basic services for its citizens—not just the indigent ones, Troll II?

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 8:02 am

want better MUNI, better parks and other basic services and apply it to services for a narrow band of "unfortunate" people who it then tends as cows to supply more milk for its needs. That's the raison d'etre of poverty pimps - keep 'em coming in and make sure there's a tax base to provide for 'em.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 10:07 am

And this has been the death knell for "progressivism" in San Francisco--cut deals with corporate power and speculative capital to provide crumbs for a few of the poor while giving nothing to most San Franciscans except for tax bills and crappy public services.

That political calculus is as unsustainable as the time sponge web economy and is meeting a similar end as we saw with the last speculative tech bubble.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 10:33 am

Look at you agreeing with Troll II

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

This is why the professional progressives hate me, I observe their conduct and see that for all of their leftist verbiage, they have made peace with corporate power and are scrambling over we useful idiots to maintain their good thing.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

...are on board with "Non Profit Inc."

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

is destroyed all new taxes will inevitably go to increasing city employee salaries and pensions - because that's the largest share of the budget. It's absurd to think they'll go anywhere else. Unions don't exist to protect the rights of the public, they exist to protect the prerogatives of their workers. Why progressives have convinced themselves differently is beyond me.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

Until the 1% mafia controlling city government is destroyed, than 99% of new taxes will invariably go out as corporate welfare to the 1% and their cohorts with 1% left over to cover for labor and the nonprofits.

The Chamber of Commerce, Golden Gate Restaurant Association and Committee on JOBS don't exist to protect the prerogatives of their workers. Why conservatives would even try to convince us differently is beyond me.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 9:27 am

are put out there as "forlorn hopes," which in failing nonetheless diminish the ability of those expressing the interests of the 99% to make simple cogent statements of analysis.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 9:44 am

It would be so much better to have those 600 jobs down on the peninsula, so the employees don't take Muni or use other City Services ( seriously, besides Muni and maybe the fire department for a medical call, what other City services are these people draining away?)

I hate the idea of these people, living here, paying market rate rent to support those in rent controlled apartments, buying dinners and shopping at stores so the City earns sales tax and business actually turn a profit. Yes, mid Market is much better off with the strip joints and drug dealers. Of course the SFBG used to make a fair chunk of change from the sex industry, pimps and human traffickers so I can understand the desire to keep mid-Market seedy.

Posted by D. native on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

It's a benefit to the city. We need more 100K pa jobs. We don't need more activists, bad artists and homeless people.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 1:30 am

And the infrastructure to support them.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 8:05 am

We need more ongoing sustainable jobs that are based on providing people with goods and services that they'll need on an ongoing basis.

These tech jobs remain experimental based on speculation and have yet to turn an ongoing profit.

This is the difference between building a fire by setting gasoline aflame on the sidewalk and gathering wood for a fireplace or cooking with gas.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 8:42 am

So mobile technology, utilizing the small computers (e.g., iPhones) that people carry around in their pockets is too speculative for us? Even that is too risky and we should wait to see if it is just a passing fad?

Posted by Troll on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 9:02 am

Troll, were land-lines a passing fad? Was the telegraph? The reality behind this debate is obviously far more nuanced than you are competent to assess.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 9:49 am

No, the time sponge economy is a fad and when this current time sponge web app bubble pops, it will probably take the other poised for high growth speculative firms with it as well as much of the existing neighborhood serving businesses in areas proximate to these tech firms, just as the Wall Street bubble took many otherwise unrelated firms and families down when it popped.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 9:50 am

Not every company that moves to mid market will succeed. But Twitter has a world wide base and is becoming the default measurement of real time global sentiment. Square is involved in helping small businesses take advantage of mobile commerce opportunities almost anywhere in the world. Yammer helps businesses communicate internally. We're not talking chia pets here.

Do you know those struggling artists that are so critical to the San Francisco lifestyle and economic scene? Well they can use Square to collect on a sale made from a street fair or show.

It's a common business adage to say that, if you never fail, you're not taking enough risk. Most people are willing to take a ride on the mobile technology wave. I know that it may upset Progressives to do so but you can't expect everyone to be held back because 19% of the city doesn't get it.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 11:37 am

Yeah, Square is great and it does allow individuals to engage in credit card commerce, which is convenient. I use it myself to sell my books. And I'm glad the company wants to be in San Francisco. But I also think that they should pay their taxes, just like every other company in town, rather than being subsidized by a city that has been forced to slash critical social and public health services in recent years.

Posted by steven on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

Credit cards are *so* convenient. Pretty soon there'll be no need to handle filthy germ-riddded currency and all transactions will be done through encrypted networks that only you, your banker, and big brother will have access to.

Without a doubt, Troll and co. will falsely accuse me of being a paranoid/Luddite for mentioning it; at least we will not be compelled to breathe from air tanks equipped with remotely controled solenoid valves just yet.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

I think it is wholly disingenuous to say that the city is subsidizing businesses like Square. Aren't we collecting RE taxes on the space they occupy? What about the RE taxes involved with any employees who want to live in SF? What about their Muni fares and parking meter stuffings? Are they never going to shop or dine near their office? Sure they'll flush their toilets, throw out garbage and have a fire now and then but I would guess that their per capita drain on city resources is MUCH lower than that of current denizens of mid-market.

Even the payroll tax break argument is specious. First off, it is for a limited time frame. I got HBO for free for 6 months and I don't hear them complain that I am being subsidized. And, AFAIK, there is no guarentee that they will get a corresponding break if we go to the gross receipts tax.

At least Tim admits to the real issue -- we're talking about rich people and, as far as the SFBG is concerned, we don't need their kind around here.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

He's interested in maintaining the urban core of cities, something which he points to as coming from his childhood growing up in a poor, urban neighborhood in St. Louis subject to intense white flight. In sharp contrast to other moguls like Sean Parker he doesn't live an overly self-indulgent, piggish life. Sure he will never pass muster with progressives but where it matters he's actually interested in giving something back to San Francisco. Square is a major asset to this city as is Twitter.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

And I've long held it to be true that domestic production for domestic consumption is necessary. Not only due to sovereignty issues the come from not having it so, but also due to the depleted energy resources of the modern age and the catastrophic ramifications from their continued abuse; being squandered in ferrying widgits around the planet.

That high tech jobs have a place in our economy there is no doubt -- and Square's product seems quite a bit more worthwhile than others -- but such industries have shown a capacity to rise and fall in a matter of years: they don't have the same inherent utility and permanance of more basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, energy and arts.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 9:46 am

The economic principle that government should engage in counter cyclical economic policies holds valid.

This smooths out the lows as well as the highs, so that when the business cycle tanks, the damage is minimized at the cost of minimizing profits on the upside.

Otherwise the high cost of high private profits ends up socialized, just as libertarian capitalists like Ayn Rand would have it.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 10:05 am

Let's be frank: Ayn Rand was an anti-social twit.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 10:52 am

A distinction without a difference.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 11:19 am

(Perhaps the greatest potential for spurts of growth, but also the most stark potential for collapse and the human suffering which accompanies such.)

2) Fluctuations in the economy are inherently wasteful.

These are two premises I hold to be self-evident.

Libertarian ideologues *never* consider themselves at risk of finding themselves in the cross hairs of the next capricious tectonic shift; they always cooly and cruelly imagine the hazards will be borne elsewhere.

Remember all the derisive talk about "planned economy" that used to emanate from the libertarian-right talkers such as Newt Gingrich, et. al.? That was before the dot-com boom tanked; before the housing bubble popped.

That kind of talking-point-based philosophy only survives on brazeness. An unplanned economy is one that enslaves and torments people; one in which people are a commodity to be either rewarded or discarded according to the random gusts of wind.

For the economy to serve people, there must be a plan. The facile responses here represent the thinking of those who still claim that planning is bad.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 11:53 am

Good jobs come to a crappy neighborhood, crackheads get intimidated and move somewhere else (maybe pac heights?), less crackheads in the hood to shuttle to sf general, neighborhood saves money!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

people thusly.

What about your patriotic duty to support the CIA?

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 23, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

Chris Daly got firsthand experience on how difficult it is to run a business in SF. He should try owning rental property to complete his education.

Posted by Small Business on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:29 am

“For as labor cannot produce without the use of land, the denial of the equal right to the use of land is necessarily the denial of the labor to its own produce.” ~Henry George

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 11:53 am

in Fairfield. One of the houses he bought was a repo.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

I have to give credit to Erika McDonald for coming up with this term, but it's great because it describes something that happens all too commonly in San Francisco these days -this trend where real small business owners are being squeezed by the greed of parasites who don't create anything with their labor, but live off rents from people who actually work for a living.

I've seen this happen to two of my favorite restaurants in the Mission, Ti Couz and Ramblas. They "went out of business" like Buck, but the term is a misnomer, because they didn't really fail. Both were extremely popular restaurants, but when their leases came up, the owners of the buildings decided they were going to jack up the rent and squeeze them for more money. Neither could afford the additional rent, so they folded. The owners figured they could find someone else -as long as they get their money it doesn't matter who, the needs/desires of the community be damned.

It's sad that Buck is just the latest small business to be victimized by this kind of greed. And in the case of Buck, I wouldn't be surprised if it was deliberate.

This is how a lot of our small businesses are turning into vacant storefronts, and it's a real shame that large, predatory landlords have largely succeeded in driving a wedge between small businesspeople and progressive communities with whom they have much more in common than with the likes of big realtors and megacorporations.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

Mission Housing Development Corporation is raising the rent on Forest Books so that they can bring in a tenant that can pay higher rents.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

The Buck didn't get a rent increase, but Daly said the rent they inherited was too high for what they were doing, and they tried unsuccessful to negotiate it down.

Posted by steven on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

That nicely encapsulates his political views too - immune from reality, reason or common sense. Too bad those foreclosures he snapped up in Fairfield weren't immune from market forces. My heart just breaks for those people who lost their homes so Chris Daly could become a landlord.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

at a dead end location. He probably figured progressives would cross the city to hang out at his bar, I would guess any number of progressives who think the world runs on good intentions egged him on with stories of community.

It has a number of things not going for it.

The bar itself isn't very inviting, the inside looks like any other newer bar, hardly relaxing. There's not a lot of housing around there to get a steady group of regulars, those people are already have bars anyways. Daly himself has poisoned the well, a majority of citizens see him as an asshole man child. The "community" that he was probably counting on doesn't exist.

Someone with a serious vision could have made a go of it maybe. Try and get the bike commuters on Market on their way home, make the place a bit more comfortable and tear out that generic bar funiture, have events directed at the non uptight...

Posted by matlock on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

Zuni Café and Martuni's - just to name two off the top of my head - don't seem to find the location particularly "dead end."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 8:51 am

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