As announced last fall, stalwart SoMa nightclub Mezzanine is getting pushed out of its Jessie Street space because the landlord wants to cash on in lucrative office rental rates. And now we learn that a proposed lease extension through the New Year has been revoked, and the club will in fact shutter in October.
The loss of Mezzanine is significant not just on its own, but also when taken in the context of other closures like Infusion Lounge last year in Union Square, the Hemlock Tavern last fall, and the threatened closure of The Stud — which now appears delayed again for two years. San Francisco's ever quieting nightlife scene can hardly afford to lose these venues, especially when they're thriving businesses like Mezzanine is.
The club, which has been in operation for 16 years, is unique in that it operates as both a live music venue and a DJ-focused nightclub, with a capacity of 1,000 people. As club owner Deborah Jackman told the Chronicle in November, "We might have the Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans one night and the next night we might have someone like Diplo."
As Jackman now tells SF Weekly, the landlords, the Chritton family, reneged on an offer of a three-month lease extension that they had previously suggested in a letter of intent they sent in May. In a statement, Jackman put a plea to the public, hoping at the very least not to have to cancel the events she already has booked between October and January. "At this point I feel the only hope we have is a public outcry, even louder than the first," she writes. "That SF will not take this laying down. Please once again, make it known that you need Mezzanine and Mezzanine needs YOU to help us survive, at least until the end of 2019."
Jackman's initial pleas in the media led to pressure from Mayor London Breed and the Entertainment Commission to extend Mezzanine's lease. The Chrittons, however, appear eager to get the club out, telling Mezzanine that they are looking to expand their own family business into the space, called Microbiz Security. "This statement is a stark departure from their original reasoning for not renewing the venue’s lease: a 600% rent increase for the space," Jackman writes.
The Chrittons' realtor declined to comment when the original story broke last fall, but now David Chritton, who operates Microzbiz out of the basement of the building with his brother Todd, tells the Chronicle, "We’re not greedy corporate owners. This is a family business. We want to take care of our employees. This is our home too." Chritton says that they need to take the nightclub space in October because the company needs more room for its 25 employees.
Photo courtesy of Mezzanine/Cody Clicks