Southern Pacific Brewing rises from the dead

It's Tuesday, May 18.

Southern Pacific Brewing left us last year. Another beloved San Francisco institution (and one of the rare places in the city that could accommodate large groups), swept away by the pandemic. 

A tragedy. 

Except, there’s a twist. 

“‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,’” Southern Pacific wrote on its Instagram in late March, quoting Mark Twain. “WE ARE BACK.” 

Chris Lawrence, who founded Southern Pacific back in 2011, confirmed the news with me this week: Southern Pacific is indeed open for business. 

“We’re excited to be back,” Lawrence said, after shutting his doors back in September due to financial woes. “There’s been a lot of positive reactions from people who thought we were permanently closed.” 

So what brought Southern Pacific back from the dead? An injection of capital, of course. 

Lawrence kept names out of the conversation but said Southern Pacific’s new owner was a “nice woman who used to live on 20th Street,” near the brewery. Lawrence himself will stay on to run the day-to-day operations. 

“We were lucky to find a person who… understood what this neighborhood was and what it's turned into with the 20th Street Corridor, that it’s a viable commercial area now,” Lawrence said. “[She] knew it was a solid business minus coronavirus.” 

Lawrence said he expects the revived Southern Pacific to still be a go-to destination for birthday parties, corporate outings, and other large gatherings like it was before the pandemic. It’s added a new HVAC system to keep air flowing inside and heaters on its outside patio. It also built two large parklets in front that can seat around 100 people. 

As for the beer, Southern Pacific recently hired a new head brewer, Reuben Gensler, who previously worked at Speakeasy and most recently, at Cleophus Quealy in San Leandro. Lawrence said he’s excited to get a “cool sour program going” as well as release some juicy and hazy beers, which would be a first for Southern Pacific. 

For food, the team’s been experimenting with a new vertical rotisserie. Last weekend, they made gyros and for Cinco de Mayo, al pastor. They still serve their signature sage fries that come loaded with garlic. 

“It was a crazy year for this industry,” Lawrence said. “But for those who were able to work through it and make it to the other side, it’s a great feeling.” 

Welcome back, Southern Pacific. 

And with that... onto some news… 

Mayor Breed announced a plan on Tuesday to bulk up the city’s police presence in the Mid-Market area to address “illegal activity that is unacceptable and will not be allowed to continue.” Tomorrow, 26 officers will begin regularly patrolling the area between U.N. Plaza and the Powell Street BART station—18 during the day and 8 at night, the Chronicle reported. They’ll be on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, and even on horseback. 

“All of our residents and workers deserve to feel safe, and this area of the City continues to face a number of challenges that need to be addressed,” Mayor Breed said in a statement. 

As part of the plan, dubbed the “Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan,” community ambassadors, starting next month, will also be stationed on each block in the Mid-Market area to “connect people in need with services, and provide a welcoming presence,” according to the mayor’s office.

Costs for the initiative are set to total $8 million.

Quick bits: 

  • 🚧 Caltrans cleared out one of the city’s last large homeless encampments on Monday under Highway 101 in SoMa. Some had lived there for years. (Chronicle

  • 🏘 The Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to cap rent at 30% of a person’s income for all those living in one of the city’s 8,000 permanent supportive housing units. (Examiner

  • 💰 The San Francisco school district and five board members have asked the district court to drop the $87 million lawsuit brought against them by their colleague Alison Collins. The dismissal hearing will happen on July 9. (Joe Eskenazi, Twitter

  • 🍿 San Francisco’s newest Regal movie theater is opening in the Stonestown shopping mall on Friday and is equipped with seats that “pitch, twist, vibrate, and roll in coordination with action happening on screen.” (SFist

  • 🏟 Starting on Friday, in a series against the Dodgers, the Giants will no longer require fans sitting in “socially distanced sections” to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. (SFGate

And finally… 

The Examiner did a good Q&A yesterday with transit advocate and member of the SFMTA Citizens’ Advisory Council, Chris Arvin. If you’re interested in transit, you should follow Arvin on Twitter

I liked this from his interview on Monday: “People usually think of cars as freedom and independence, but I actually think there’s a whole other kind of freedom, and a better one, that is just being able hop on a bus or train by walking a couple blocks in any direction.” 

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading y’all and we’ll see you back here tomorrow. - Nick B. 

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