The former Virgil's Sea Room (3152 Mission Street) is going from vaguely seafaring-themed to space-travel themed, and the new name for the place will be Mothership.
The new owners for the place, as Eater reports today, include a couple of longtime El Rio karaoke night regulars, one of whom has worked at neighborhood bar The Knockout for 12 years, and a former El Rio bartender. Alicia Griffiths and Sean Mabry, who are a couple, along with friend Joanna Ricco, say they were friends with staff members at Virgil's and immediately reached out to owner Lila Thirkield about taking over her lease when they heard back in February that the place would not be reopening.
As they tell the Chronicle, they'd always said to themselves, "Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own bar?", and then the opportunity arose, very close to home.
Ricco, who formerly worked at El Rio, now has a psychotherapy practice but like the idea of still having a foot in the bar scene; and Griffiths was a bartender at Brass Tacks and Junior in previous years but lately has been working as a video producer.
"We want the place to feel like a home base," Ricco tells Eater. "Mothership could have alien vibes, but the whole concept is this is your home base, your community is here."
And while they say that the place won't have too kitschy of a sci-fi feel, it will definitely have a "funkadelic space vibe." The inspiration comes partly from Mabry being a self-described "huge sci-fi nerd," he tells Eater, as well as a lengthy brainstorming session.
Meanwhile the patio, with a "magnificent hanging garden" will be the "lush mother earth" antidote to the interior. And reservations will be available for patio tables.
The menu plan is to offer "fresh, forward, and unpretentious" cocktails, they tell Eater, as well as natural wine, craft beer, and plenty of Tecate and Miller High Life — because "that's what we drink," Mabry tells the Chronicle. Also, they're planning on "creative no-ABV and gluten-free options" as well.
The place will no longer explicitly be an LGBTQ bar, but the trio of new owners say they want to welcome the entire Virgil's community back, and that the two bar iterations should feel like a continuation — as Griffiths tells Eater, "For us, it feels like coming home. We’ve been serving these same friends and community for more than 15 years."
Look for Mothership to open around September 1, or maybe later.