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San Francisco’s oldest bar unsure when to reopen

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Now that San Francisco is in the least restrictive yellow tier for reopening, bars which do not serve food can start pouring drink again in mid- November.

Owners of the city’s oldest bar say since they are only allowed to serve drinks outside, it might not make financial sense to reopen yet.

Myron Mu measured the parkelt outside the saloon currently used by the restaurant next door to see how many drinkers he can legally serve in what is essentially the one parking space he’s allowed to do business in.

“And I think I can get maybe eight people in there and still be legal, which means social distancing,” Mu said.

Established in 1861, the North Beach watering hole lays claim to the title of being the oldest continuously operating bar in the city. He and his sister have owned the saloon since the 80’s and while they want to get back to business, it might not pencil out right now.

“The reason why we’re on the fence because it’s not very cost-effective,” Vera Mu said. “I mean you open up a business to seat one parking space.”

Plus they used feature live music and while the city now permits outdoor performances in shared spaces, the rules are giving the mus the blues.

“No wind instruments and no vocals, I’m a blues bar,” Myron Mu said.

“During this pandemic, people need the words to get a good place in their hearts,” Vera Mu said.

While the saloon may wait longer to start pouring drinks again, another legendary North Beach drinking establishment, Vesuvio, is adapting to the new rules to get the party started. 

They’ve put tables down in Jack Keroac alley, have a parklet under construction and partnered with a nearby restaurant which allowed them to open Oct. 1.

They are also talking about having musical performances in the alley and possibly partnering up with their neighbor City Lights Books to host poetry readings. 

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