54-year-old Mission District Irish bar Dovre Club is hanging on by a thread, but a GoFundMe campaign could help secure its longtime spot at Valencia and 26th Streets.
Rumors swirled in May that the decades-old bar the Dovre Club could be nearing its last call, as the landlord’s Notice to Quit had been posted on the premises’ window a couple months back. That notice was quickly removed, and SFist did some digging into the Dovre Club’s fate.
Looks like the Dovre Club is no more. Their landlord posted an eviction notice on their door today. pic.twitter.com/tXvPbzWXSz— Kevin Montgomery (@kevinmonty) May 20, 2021
Turns out the beloved cash-only dive bar that dates back to 1966 is still on life support — and needs the help of a recently launched Reopen The Dovre Club GoFundMe campaign to support the historic punk-rock Irish bar that has been shuttered since the beginning of the pandemic.
“I’ve had no income,” Dovre Club owner Elvis McElhatton tells SFist. “It’s the same for the rest of the employees here.”
The GoFundMe campaign is already halfway to its goal, but the club’s fate is still uncertain. “We can't wait to get back in business but we need a little help from the community,” the club says on its GoFundMe page. “Money raised by this campaign will help secure a new lease, pay for necessary repairs of the bathrooms, reinstate utilities, and pay for inventory and cleaning. We want to open the Dovre Club stronger and better than ever!”
“My dream is to reopen at the same location,” McElhatton says. “The landlord is talking about a month-to-month lease. Any investor is saying, ‘We want a five-year lease.’ I’m going to hash this out, hopefully.”
“There’s a lot of history there,” he adds. The Dovre Club opened in 1966 in the downstairs of the Women’s Building on 18th Street, long before it even was the Women's Building (that building was previously owned by the Sons of Norway). It was the go-to watering hole for political power brokers of yesteryear, like Warren Hinckle, Jack Davis, and Sheriff Michael Hennessy.
The Women’s Building did eventually evict the bar after the death of original owner Paddy Nolan, and the bar has stayed within McElhatton’s family since the bar and its iconic neon sign moved to Valencia and 26th Streets in 1998.
“It has hosted countless fundraisers, wedding receptions, birthday parties, and wakes,” the GoFundMe reminds us. “It is a dive bar where you can meet up with old friends and treat each other to rounds, or where you might meet your new best friend. Lasting love connections have been made at the Dovre, where the drinks are as strong and unpretentious as the patrons.”
“We’ll be coming back modernized, We might even take credit cards, we might even have more than two cocktail glasses,” McElhatton laughs. “It’s ain't over, til the Dovre.”
The Reopen The Dovre Club campaign is live now on GoFundMe.
Related: The 25 Best Dive Bars In San Francisco [SFist]
Image: Kevin Y. via Yelp