New Castro boutique and social club denies nuisance complaint

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday March 7, 2023
Share this Post:
A complaint has been filed with the San Francisco Planning Department against MikroBlack, a clothing store and social club that opened in the former D&H Jewelers on Market Street. Photo: John Ferrannini
A complaint has been filed with the San Francisco Planning Department against MikroBlack, a clothing store and social club that opened in the former D&H Jewelers on Market Street. Photo: John Ferrannini

A new boutique and social club that opened in the LGBTQ Castro neighborhood last December is now the subject of a nuisance complaint to the San Francisco Planning Department for allegedly playing loud music in the early morning hours and using power tools at night.

For its part, MikroBlack, the boutique and social club, is denying the allegation.

The complaint, available on the city department's website, does not have a name attached to it. But it does purport to come from a resident of the same building, 2323 Market Street, and was submitted February 14.

"Ths [sic] business, called Mikroblack at 2323 Market Street, has been a nuisance since moving into our building," the complaint stated. "The business regularly plays loud, amplified music, including with full DJ set-ups (I have attached a picture from their own social media as proof). This will go well into the night, including at times well past 2AM."

The complaint stated that the planning department recommended MikroBlack for "an alcohol license" from the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

"Additionally, they were apparently recommended for an alcohol license by your office (you are listed as the staff that worked on the project according to ABC)," the complaint continued. "They are now operating partially as a bar (I have included another picture showing this). There are multiple locations with closed bars and restaurants in Castro and in wider San Francisco that could accommodate this without causing strain on surrounding residents. Additionally, in the last few days they have been doing some kind of construction within the space and in our backyard using power tools, including past 8PM."

(The attached pictures mentioned in the complaint were not available on the planning department's website. A picture of a DJ set-up was not on MikroBlack's Facebook page as of press time.)

Daniel A. Sider, the chief of staff for the planning department, told the Bay Area Reporter, "a complaint case was opened late last week and we'll be moving forward with an investigation shortly. Preliminarily, assuming the allegations are generally accurate, there are a number of city approvals required for this use which have not yet been sought, much less granted."

The ABC did not respond to a request for comment for this report as of press time; a public records search on its website shows the location has an active beer and wine license through November 30.

Dan Sneddon, a bi, queer man who said he is a "minor part of the leather community" and has lived near the Castro for 21 years, is a business partner of Jewels Good, CEO of MikroBlack, who themself identifies as a bi, queer Jew.

Sneddon told the B.A.R. March 7 that "this person has been filing complaints strategically."

MikroBlack opened as a clothing store in December, Sneddon said.

"Our real dream is to bring that European fashion experience to the U.S.," he said. "We've been called Goth, we've been called fetish, but it's just high fashion."

The boutique also bills itself as a social club — or, at least a social club that will be developed later.

"We're a clothing store," Sneddon said, when asked about the relationship between the two. "The social club is an add-on we are hoping to develop."

Already, MikroBlack is in the process of transferring the 2323 Market Street liquor license for beer and wine — currently held by prior occupants Daunell and Higgins Inc. (which ran D&H Jewelers) — to itself, Sneddon said. In order to do that, some beer and wine sales are required to keep the license active.

Sneddon said that the business is not in the process of trying to obtain a broader liquor license. The point of the alcohol sales is to "get people to stay longer" or give them a further reason to come.

As for the allegation that power tools are being used after 8 p.m. and that there's "loud, amplified music" after 2 a.m. Sneddon said that "power tools after 8 p.m. couldn't have been very late because the employee went home shortly after 8" and that the music wasn't amplified because it was "an iPad and a Bluetooth speaker." (After the initial publication of this story, Sneddon reached out to say by "power tool" he meant "vacuum.")

"We had on several occasions a DJ, but we don't have a big sound system. We're shocked at the complaint. ... We are on Market Street, across the street is Beaux and Lookout, so this is really blindsiding," Sneddon said, referring to two other popular LGBTQ bars.

Updated, 3/7/23: This article has been updated to indicate that MikroBlack business partner Dan Sneddon meant "vacuum" rather than "power tools."

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.