A new bar featuring classic arcade games is headed to San Francisco’s gay Castro district.
The owner of upper Market Street bar Blackbird, Shawn Vergara, and Tiffny Vergara Chung, who is the business manager at Blackbird, are behind the new establishment. Dubbed “Project 22″ for now, due to its location in the new mixed-used development at 2200 Market Street known as The Century, the sister / brother team has yet to come up with a name for the new watering hole.
“It will be a beer-centric, beer and wine arcade bar,” Vergara Chung told Castro business leaders at the Castro Merchants meeting this morning (Thursday, April 3).
They plan to have 25 craft beers on tap as well as five wines on tap with low-alcohol cocktails also a possibility, said Vergara Chung. The beers will mostly focus on sours, ciders and fruit-flavored brews.
The 1,986 square foot space will have a capacity of 117 people. Shooting for a late summer opening, the siblings plan to be open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.
C Walters Design is creating the look of the interior space. It will feature an industrial urban atmosphere, with blackened steel, wired glass and wood accents.
“Video-games and beers in an industrial urban atmopshere, kind of like that city place your parents thought woudl ruin your life, but was actually the reason you became who you are today,” reads a prospectus about the concept. “Hi tech with a nod to the past.”
In addition to a bottle-cap bar top, the main feature of the as-yet unnamed bar will be its classic, coin-operated arcade games, such as Pac-Man and Galaga. They plan to open with 10 game consoles and hope to add more in the future.
Due to current city codes, they are capped at having just 10 games instead of the 20-plus they would like to have.
The restriction is due to a 1930s law the city passed, explained Vergara Chung, “when the city tied illegal gambling to gaming.”
The siblings have been working with District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener’s office to look at rescinding the old law. Shawn Vergara ruled out that the games would be similar to ones that allow patrons to play poker or other casino-like games.
“Will we have anything with gambling? No,” he said in response to a question.
The Castro merchant group unanimously endorsed the concept and the new bar’s request for a liquor license.
“I want to congratulate you for doing this,” said Steve Adams, an executive with Sterling Bank and Trust who is president of the city’s Small Business Commission. “It is great someone who owns a local business is opening up another local, small business. I like the concept.”
It is the second locally-owned business moving into the new building, located at the intersection of Market, Sanchez and 15th Streets. Two of the partners behind the nearby gay sports bar Hi Tops are opening a new Mexican sit-down restaurant called Bandidos in the development’s corner storefront.
The site was formerly home to property owner Leticia Luna’s Mexican restaurant called Leticia’s. More recently the Thai House had operated at the site until Luna proceeded with her development plans and demolished the old building on the lot.