Yet another exclusive members-only club has already landed in the Ferry Building, billing itself as a “place for founders, innovators, and changemakers.” But their liquor service — which they have already been advertising — was delayed its licensing Thursday morning by the Board of Supervisors.
SFist broke the news in November that Michael Mina's restaurant group was opening a private club in the Ferry Building called Shack15, and our report set off plenty of local media speculation on what the Mina Group might be up to with this “New Scandinavian concept.” Eater SF dug into it and found that it’s apparent owner is a Norwegian-born startup called Meltwater, an “AI-driven media intelligence” firm that relocated to SF about 15 years ago, and has operated a co-working space in London. Further reporting from Eater found an email hoping to recruit richie-rich types willing to pay the club’s $1,500-per-year membership fee, noting that Mina would be the “curator of SHACK15’s food and beverage program” and that the venture was “in partnership with Mina Group.” (And interestingly, that the place is probably paying a mint in rent, but I digress.) Multiple requests for comment from both the Mina Group and Meltwater were unreturned, from SFist and pretty much every other media organization who reached out.
But SF Weekly dug through public records to find that the members-only club was applying for a liquor license, and the request would go before the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Neighborhood Services at this morning’s meeting. Despite the lack of license, Shack15’s website is claiming the place is stocked “with multiple full-service bars.”
Not for awhile, it won’t be. Supervisor Aaron Peskin, in whose district the club sits, requested a continuance on the liquor license hearing. The committee granted that delay without objection.
“The Ferry Building is in District 3," committee chair Rafael Mandelman said at the meeting. “Supervisor Peskin has requested a continuance to give him and his office some time to meet with the applicant and also talk to the Port. It sounds like they may not have been fully up to speed on this project. So I’m inclined to grant that request.”
Shack15 is scheduled for another liquor license hearing at the February 13, 2020 Public Safety and Neighborhood Services committee meeting.
At SHACK15 with the digital negligentsia. pic.twitter.com/IZNCyrI7aO— Ron Martínez (@ronmartinez) December 5, 2019
In the meanwhile, it looks like the spot has already hosted a few private events. The above video sure looks like their second-floor space at the Ferry Building, and another Twitter post from December declares, “The San Francisco Ferry Building has a beautiful new space called Shack15. They held a book talk for me.” Shack15 currently has one Yelp review (posted Sunday), which begins “Shack 15 is a game-changer.” I promptly puked my guts out and did not read any further.
But there is plenty more puke-worthy language on Shack15’s website. Calling the club a “place for founders, innovators, and changemakers,” Shack15 says it is “where ideas go to breathe” and “a platform for genuine community throughout all stages of the entrepreneurial journey and a home for the exploration of extraordinary ideas.”
The target demographic seems more akin to an exploration of how to lose extraordinary amounts of other people’s money. But these “founders, innovators, and changemakers” might do well to remember the Museum of Ice Cream liquor license fiasco, where the quasi-museum was denied the license in no small part because they advertised serving alcohol before being granted a license. We’ll see if these so-called “changemakers” can get the Board to change their apprehensiveness toward founders who start up shop without securing permits.
Note: This post has been updated with comment from the committee hearing.
Image: Shack15 Yelp page