When notoriously brazen Supervisor Chris Daly was termed out of his seat at City Hall in 2010, he managed to find another pulpit: behind his very own bar. And thus, the Buck Tavern on Market Street became a hangout for activists, policy wonks, supervisors, journalists and, on at least one occasion, Mayor Ed Lee.
But for Daly, it appears even bar ownership comes with term limits.
Buck Tavern is set to close at the end of the month due to an impasse with the building owner over the cost of rent.
Given Daly’s apparent love for direct political combat, it was appropriate that the dive was centered in The City’s recently approved tax-incentive zone for tech companies — a contentious policy move that Daly vociferously opposed. But despite the blighted neighborhood’s burgeoning real estate boom — whether real or imagined — it isn’t Twitter’s fault that Daly is hitting the road, he said Friday.
Or maybe it is, he reconsidered.
“The format doesn’t really sit well with what the building owner’s expectations are in terms of the rent they think they should be getting,” Daly said of the relatively inexpensive food and drink specials he offered to city workers, union members and the like. “It’s a tougher block. I love it, but it should go along with lower rent.”
The “bon voyage” for the Buck will take place on Halloween night, when patrons are encouraged — and perhaps required — to wear nautical attire.
“It’s not a Halloween party, it’s a bon voyage,” Daly said. “It just happens to be on Halloween.”
Daly’s time behind the bar was marked by fundraisers for the mayoral bid of his friend and former legislative aide, Supervisor John Avalos, along with several events for community housing and tenants-rights organizations.
Shortly after being appointed last year, the mayor stopped by to give Daly a toy donkey — a reference to Daly’s oft-quoted comment that The City’s choice of Lee to replace Mayor Gavin Newsom was the “biggest fumble in the history of progressive politics in San Francisco.”
“I will haunt you. I will politically haunt you,” Daly barked at Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the swing vote on Lee’s confirmation. “It’s on like Donkey Kong.”
Despite all the enemies he has made during his time in San Francisco, Daly said he does not suspect funny business with the lease. He took a key political organizing job last year with Service Employees International Union, the country’s largest public employee union, and is now responsible for launching activities across Northern California. Most of its regional members are in San Francisco.
“If the establishment could have me running that bar in lieu of having me direct SEIU’s politics, they’d be better off,” he said.